Hiroshi Lockheimer, the senior vice president of Google, is critical of the “lock-in” caused by Apple’s iMessage and Apple’s refusal to support RCS. He says Apple uses “peer pressure and bullying” to sell its products.
Lockheimer responds to an article in The Wall Street Journal about teen chatting behavior in the context of Android and iOS. In Apple’s iMessage app, other iMessage users have blue speech bubbles and Android users get green ones. Their messages are text messages and are not encrypted, the senders can’t just use FaceTime, there are no ‘typing’ indicators and reaction emojis are sent as text. Also ‘memojis’ are missing outside of iOS. All in all, Android users certainly don’t miss a few features in iMessage conversations.
According to the Wall Street Journal piece, these perks make iMessage popular among American teens. On the downside, these youngsters would feel a lot of pressure to buy an iPhone, so they wouldn’t stand out in group chats with their peers. The WSJ paints a picture where ‘people with green bubbles’ are socially excluded.
This is the “peer pressure and bullying” that Lockheimer refers to. He went on to say that Apple’s strategy of subjecting users to “lock-in” is “well documented.” He is most likely referring to Apple’s statements that an Android version of iMessage would remove an obstacle to migration to Android and the company would hurt itself more than it would help.
Part of Lockheimer’s frustration stems from the fact that a standard has already been developed to bring the perks in question to any platform. He refers in another tweet to RCS, or Rich Communication Services, a standard intended to replace SMS. The original intention was to make it supported at a telco level, but that never got off the ground. Google, meanwhile, offers its own implementation of RCS in its Messages app. Lockheimer also offers Google’s help to Apple to “make this right.”