Friday, Apr 09, 2021, 16:43 Software

Why iMessage Isn't Available On Android – Court Document Reveals Answer

The popularity of chat apps is entirely dependent on their availability on as many devices as possible. As seen with WhatsApp, cross-platform compatibility is one of the main factors in a chat service's worldwide reception and part of the reason for which iMessage occupies a subordinate role in the realm of international communication. Of course, Apple could always publish iMessage for Android, and years ago there were even once plans to do so – however, Apple's board threw these plans out.

2013: Apple's Board Decides Against iMessage For Android
According to a recently released court document submitted by Epic Games during the company's legal dispute with Apple, Apple's board decided against iMessage for Android in 2013. The document also contains a short summary of a statement from Eddy Cue concerning iMessage. The Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services at Apple was the one to make the 2013 decision not to offer iMessage on the Android platform. It would've been entirely possible, however, to offer a working version iMessage for the competing operating system, allowing users of both platforms to seamlessly exchange messages.

Craig Federighi & Phil Schiller Stand In Agreement
Craig Federighi was in agreement with Eddy Cue and supported the decision not to offer iMessage on Android devices. The Senior Vice President of Software Engineering feared that if iMessage were available on Android devices, it could encourage iPhone-owning parents to purchase their children a cheaper Android device whilst still receiving the seamless messaging benefits of iMessage. In the eyes of Apple's board, iMessage was an important marketing instrument that could not afford to lose its exclusivity. This belief was also shared by Phil Schiller, who was responsible for the App Store at the time. Thus, the decision against iMessage for Android was made.

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iMessage: An Important Part Of The Golden Cage
Apple maintained and strengthened its position in terms of iMessage's exclusivity in the following years. In reaction to a statement from a former employee in 2016, Phil Schiller wrote that iMessage for Android would have done Apple more harm than good in the long run. Thus, iMessage's position as an Apple exclusivity and an important part of the company's "golden cage" was strengthened. Many users mention the iPhone/Mac exclusivity of iMessage to be one of the reasons they find it difficult to leave the company's "golden cage" (an expression often used to describe the benefits of Apple products' exclusive services).

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