The ongoing Apple vs Epic lawsuit has revealed that Apple decided not to move iMessage to Android to lock in users from leaving its devices. Apple and Epic have submitted their documents for their trial which will start next month, and the documents have revealed some interesting details regarding App Store commissions, and accusations from either side.
Apple knows iMessage locks in users to its platform therefore did not make an Android app
Documents submitted by both companies so far have revealed that Epic Games’ lawsuit was planned months in advance with PR and legal teams, while Epic accused Apple of using its security protocols as a pretext for its commissions. These court briefings have further revealed that Apple was considering back in 2013, whether it should develop iMessage for Android or not, but ultimately decided not to.
Eddy Cue had testified that Apple would have made a version of iMessage which would have allowed the popular messaging service to be cross-platform and work between iOS and Android.
“Mr. Cue testified that Apple “could have made a version on Android that worked with iOS” such that there would “have been cross-compatibility with the iOS platform so that users of both platforms would have been able to exchange messages with one another seamlessly”.”
Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering, suggested that it would not be a good move for Apple, and will allow families to easily give their kids Android devices instead of iPhones to stay in touch via iMessage.
However, Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering and the executive in charge of iOS, feared that “iMessage on Android would simply serve to remove [an] obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones”.
Phil Schiller, previously in charge of the App Store, also agreed with the sentiment, as one of the reasons customers find it difficult ot leave iPhones or Apple’s ecosystem is the interoperability that Apple’s devices offer.
Phil Schiller, an Apple executive in charge of the App Store, agreed that Apple should not offer iMessage on Android devices.
In 2016, when a former Apple employee commented that “the #1 most difficult [reason] to leave the Apple universe app is iMessage . . . iMessage amounts to serious lock-in” to the Apple ecosystem, Mr. Schiller commented that “moving iMessage to Android will hurt us more than help us, this email illustrates why”.
There are now laws or regulations that compel a service like iMessage to be cross-platform, so technically Apple has been within its right to lock in users via its service offerings to its devices. iMessage is a free service and does not use user data for ad targeting either, so the only return the company gets is that people buy its devices, which allows the company to invest in the service.
The trial is excepted to start early next month, and we expect a lot more details to be revealed as Apple CEO Tim Cook and others executives are expected to testify.
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