Google to Apple: Stop ‘message bullying’


Google vice president for Android, Chrome, Chrome OS, Play and Photos, Hiroshi Lockheimer has some harsh words for Apple over its iMessage policy. In a tweet, Lockheimer said that Apple is not accepting the RCS standard as it wants to keep its iMessage lock-in system intact. “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,” he tweeted quoting a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) story about Apple iMessage‘s dominance among an “army of texting tweens”. RCS stands for Rich Communication Services, a messaging protocol, intended as a replacement to SMS on Android devices. It introduced Android users to some key features of Apple’s iMessage like read receipts, typing bubbles and more.

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For those not aware, by “documented”, Lockheimer seems to be hinting at the documents and comments that came out during Apple and Fortnite maker Epic courtroom battle. The legal tussle showed documents that claimed Apple’s Phil Schiller in 2016 expressed that “moving iMessage to Android will hurt us more than help us….” Software chief Craig Federighi reportedly similarly said that “iMessage on Android would simply serve to remove [an] obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones.”

Lockheimer’s tweet has been retweeted by other Googlers including Dave Burke, the company’s VP for engineering for Android and Covid-19 exposure notifications. Google’s official Twitter handle for Android too quoted Lockhemier’s tweet and said, “iMessage should not benefit from bullying. Texting should bring us together, and the solution exists. Let’s fix this as one industry.”

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This is not the first time that the Google’s senior executive Lockheimer has tweeted about iMessage adopting RCS. “Group chats don’t need to break this way. There exists a Really Clear Solution. Here’s an open invitation to the folks who can make this right: we are here to help,” Lockheimer tweeted in October last year.

The WSJ story says that the dominace of Apple iMessage has led to young Android users feel ostracized when communicating with iOS users. The WSJ report says that Apple’s colour coded system has led to teenagers to ridicule those that own Android handsets. It quotes a survey that claimed that a staggering 87 percent of US teenagers own an iPhone. In Apple iOS devices the messages recieved from non-iOS users appears in Green, while those from iPhone users appears in Blue.

The WSJ story has an interview where one of the students was asked if she dated someone that owned an Android smartphone. She responded, “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, his texts are green,’ and my sister literally went ‘Ew, that’s gross.”


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