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Google SVP Says Apple Is "Bullying" Users With iMessage Lock-In Effect

iMessage Android
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Google SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer has labeled Apple’s iMessage policy as a “documented strategy”. The executive said the iPhone maker is deliberately refusing to make its messaging app more interoperable with Android to protect its lock-in effect.

“Apple’s iMessage lock-in is a documented strategy. Using peer pressure and bullying as a way to sell products is disingenuous for a company that has humanity and equity as a core part of its marketing. The standards exist today to fix this,” Lockheimer said quoting a Wall Street Journal report on Twitter (via 9to5Google). The report highlights how Apple is using iMessage to make young Android users feel ostracized when texting with their iPhone-holding friends, thus driving iPhone sales.

Google isn’t holding back against Apple’s iMessage policy

Google has been long dreaming of replacing SMS with RCS (Rich Communication Services) as the default messaging service on smartphones. The new standard will introduce modern features like typing indicators, read receipts, end-to-end encryption, and more to text messaging. It will also make messaging between Android and iOS devices more seamless and inclusive, but only if Apple adds RCS support to iPhones.

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Unfortunately, the iPhone maker has shown no interest in it so far. And that’s because its iMessage already offers those features. More importantly, iMessage distinguishes Android users in a messaging group, making them feel excluded. As Lockheimer indicated, this builds peer pressure on Android users to switch to iOS. Apple knows this and is deliberately keeping things intact for its selfish benefits.

Back in 2016, Apple’s Phil Schiller had said that “moving iMessage to Android will hurt us more than help us”. The company’s software chief Craig Federighi also had something similar to say: “iMessage on Android would simply serve to remove [an] obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones.”

It’s obvious that Apple is aware of what it’s doing. Meanwhile, Google has been nudging the company to add RCS support whenever it gets an opportunity. Seeing no response coming from Apple, Google’s SVP has now come up with some harsh, possibly the harshest yet, words for the iPhone maker over its iMessage policy. It’ll be interesting to see how Apple responds, if at all.

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Wireless carriers, meanwhile, have committed to support Google in its RCS efforts. So most Android smartphones will likely gain the new messaging standard by the end of this year. Hopefully, Apple will someday come on board and make the feature ubiquitous on mobile devices.