Google exec pushes Apple to adopt RCS standard to open iMessage to Android users

In its fresh attack on Apple’s “lock-in” iMessage architecture, Google executive Hiroshi Lockheimer wrote that the Cupertino tech giant should work on opening iMessage to Android users by adopting the RCS standard. 

Apple iMessage app

The native iPhone app, iMessage allows users to not send and receive standard SMS (Short Message Service), but it also offers other exclusive features like having end-to-end encryption protection, showing reactions, sending audio and video clips, sharing high-quality photos, the Read receipt, real-time viewing, effects, download apps, use Apple Pay and more. 

Rich Communication Services (RCS) protocol/ standard is a modern fix to bring rich features to text message service. The standard is designed to enable the exchange of audio, video, group chats, the ‘Read’ receipts, and other features available on iMessage and other messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. 

Google presents RCS as a solution to Apple for providing cross-platform messaging support to iPhone and Android users 

Although platforms like WhatsApp remove the barrier between Android and iPhone users, Google executives argue that Apple is deliberately not locking Android users out of the iMessage ecosystem even when there is a solution to fix cross-platform compatibility. Retweeting an article from Wal Street Journal “Why Apple’s iMessage Is Winning: Teens Dread The Green Text Bubble”, Lockheimer wrote

“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.”

Based on the standard, the RCS chat protocol was developed to upgrade SMS services on various platforms. Google offers RCS chat globally via the Android Messages app to users who install and use the default texting app. DigitalTrends writes that; 

With Google’s rollout of RCS as Android’s primary texting platform for Android Messages, many Android phones already come with Android Messages installed. A partnership between Google and Samsung allows RCS features to work seamlessly between the Samsung Messages and Android Messages apps, the default SMS apps on their devices. You can also hop on to the Google Play Store to download Messages yourself.

Apple iMessage

RCS chat is facing an aging predicament due to a lack of support from the biggest tech company, Apple. 

Rich Communication Services (RCS) has been promoted as the protocol that will eventually replace SMS, but it got off to a slow start and is still moving at a glacial pace, as its protocol ages

Chat is hardware agnostic, designed to work across multiple devices. It’s possible that Chat could work on iOS, but Apple, which accounts for half the U.S. phone market, does not support the protocol.

Maybe that’s why Lockheimer’s latest attack on Apple is one of the harshest yet. He wants to portray that users, particularly, teens-only buy iPhones because of the iMessage app. If Apple was revising its anti-competitive practice by opening its texting platform, consumers will have fewer reasons to buy an iPhone. 

The iPhone maker is gradually opening its platform to third-party. In iOS 15, it allowed FaceTime audio and video calling on Android and opened the Find My network API to third-party developers. 

About the Author

Addicted to social media and in love with iPhone, started blogging as a hobby. And now it's my passion for every day is a new learning experience. Hopefully, manufacturers will continue to use innovative solutions and we will keep on letting you know about them.

Leave a comment