Android boss criticizes Apple’s “iMessage lock-in”

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Android boss Hiroshi Lockheimer is tackling Apple more aggressively – in the hope of broader support for the communication standard RCS (Rich Communication Service). By foreclosing iMessage, Apple is relying on “peer pressure and bullying” to sell its products, wrote Lockheimer on Twitter, thereby triggering a larger discussion. A lock-in through iMessage is ultimately a “documented strategy”, according to the Google manager. He referred to a media report about the iPhone and iMessage dominance among US teenagers, which allegedly can also lead to Android users being excluded from communication.

Due to the lack of RCS support in the iPhone app “Messages”, Apple is holding back the “entire industry” and worsening messaging for Android users as well as for its own customers, argues Lockheimer. He called on Apple again to work together, Google would be happy to help establish interoperability via RCS, the manager said. The communication standard, which has long been largely unsuccessfully promoted by network operators, is integrated in Google Messenger.

The “Messages” app preinstalled on iPhones supports not only the crypto messaging service iMessage but also SMS / MMS, not least as fallback – but not RCS. SMS messages are marked as green speech bubbles and have always stood out clearly from blue iMessages. You make it clear immediately if the person you are talking to does not have an iPhone. Especially with group chats, the support of two communication protocols quickly becomes a problem, since SMS group chats lack the iMessage functions. Apple has not yet commented on the future of SMS integration in messages.

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An adaptation of iMessage for Android was discussed several times internally at Apple over the years, but was ultimately rejected again and again, as e-mail threads published in the context of the Epic legal dispute showed. Apple would thereby lose unique selling points and “remove an obstacle for iPhone families to give their children Android devices,” wrote Apple managers.


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