Google is once again calling on Apple to adopt a more open standard for text messaging after accusing Cupertino of benefiting from harassment.
This comes after one report highlighted the struggles some teens face when using an Android device, resulting in broken group conversations and green bubbles – as opposed to blue ones – when sending messages to peers who own an iPhone.
The former iMessage manager explained the reasons behind the differences in Apple’s defense. But some might (rightly) say that arguments have no value today, with text messaging in a better place than it was when iMessage landed.
iMessage bubbles are causing controversy again
Since iMessage debuted in 2011, text messages between iPhone users have always appeared in blue, while those sent from other smartphones – all that Apple hasn’t done – appear in green.
It’s just like that. And while most of us may ignore it and move on with our lives, younger Android users, some of whom have been harassed and ridiculed for not using an iPhone, are not that simple.
This was emphasized once again in the report from January 8 The Wall Street Journal – one of many published over the years that tries to draw attention to the problems created by Apple’s tight grip on iPhone messages.
“IMessage should not benefit from harassment,” he writes tweet from Google in response to the article. “Sending messages should connect us.”
‘Use of peer pressure and harassment’
Google also pointed to comments made by SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer, who said, “Using peer pressure and bullying as a way to sell products is dishonest for a company that has humanity and fairness as a key part of its marketing.”
Justin Santamaria, a former Apple manager who worked on iMessage, tried to repel the attacks and defend Apple’s decision to make text message skins different colors, depending on the device that sent them.
“Photos sent as postage stamps. You wonder if your friend got your message. Simple things that we take for granted today. How do you know you are expecting a good photo or delivery notice? Blue balloon, ”said Santamaria.
Of course, that made sense in 2011, when text messaging still hadn’t caught up with the mammoth increase in the number of smartphones. But those arguments are not valid in 2022 – and they are not valid for years.
There is an iMessage that anyone can enjoy
Google is urging Apple to adopt RCS, a state-of-the-art text messaging standard that makes the best of iMessage – including high-resolution photos, send and read confirmations, typing indicators and more – accessible to all.
RCS has been available on Android devices for a long time, but it seems that Apple is not interested in supporting it on the iPhone. The reason? Well, we don’t know. But we can tell you that adopting RCS would be contrary to the company’s iMessage strategy.
And yes, despite what some Apple supporters might say, the company is using iMessage as a way to lock users into its ecosystem. Apple executives have admitted this – at least internally – on several occasions.
iMessage keeps iPhone users on the iPhone
Bringing iMessage to Android would “hurt us more than it helped us,” admitted Apple colleague Phil Schiller in a 2016 email that was revealed last year during the Epic Games trial of Apple.
“IMessage on Android would simply serve to remove [an] an obstacle for iPhone families to give their children Android phones, ”said Apple software chief Craig Federighi. It is not in Apple’s best interest to eliminate these “obstacles”.
Apple could then improve messaging between iPhone and Android devices. We have the technology for that – and Google has repeatedly called on Cupertino to use it. It just … won’t.
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