Apple Refusing To Let iMessage App Work On Android, Saying it ‘Will Hurt Us’

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Through court filings and legal briefs in a lawsuit between Apple and Epic Games, it has come to light that Apple had intentionally refused to make iMessage available for Android devices saying “it will hurt us more than help us.”  According to Apple memos from executives including Tim Cook and Craig Federighi.  “In refusing to allow iMessage into the Android environment, Apple is essentially holding Apple users hostage” said Amanda Corrman, a consumer advocate. 

In an internal Apple memo, Federighi wrote, “iMessage on Android would simply serve to remove an obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones.”  Another memo by a different person within Apple said, “The #1 most difficult reason to leave the Apple universe app is iMessage … iMessage amount to a serious lock-in.”  Unlike Android, Apple is notorious for giving Apple users far less choice in how they set up and use their iPhone, and Apple architecture makes it much harder to leave Apple and the Apple universe or to have family and friends on a variety of devices according to what each person actually likes and wants.  “When the primary within a group or family has an iPhone, it often results in others within that sphere getting one also, not because it’s what they want, but because it’s needed in order to work and interact with the primary’s iPhone.  It’s a really hard tactic, almost mafia like tactics” says a former Apple employee in the court documents who asked not to be identified.

According to court documents, Apple decided in 2013 not to develop iMessage for Android knowing it will lock many users into the Apple world and make it harder for others to leave.  The filing goes on to show that “Apple could have made a version on Android that worked with iOS so that users of both platforms would have been able to exchange messages with one another seamlessly.”  Since one was never made, when an iPhone user does switch to Android, Apple’s servers are intentionally slow at releasing that number from its system which means other Apple users can’t actually message that person, sometimes as long as a month.  “It’s not a system or design limitation, it’s an intentional ‘problem’ put into the system to keep Apple users with Apple,” says Adam Gaghnon, an Android developer with Google from 2009 to 2017.