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Google says Apple “shouldn’t benefit from bullying” created by iMessage lockdown

Google has accused Apple of profiting from the bullying as part of a deliberate strategy to make Android users second-rate citizens on the iPhone maker’s iMessage service.

Apple’s messaging service includes a number of features exclusive to iOS, like Memoji, and turns Android users’ texts to green instead of the native blue of iOS. This has made iMessage a status symbol among American teens, creating peer pressure for young people to buy iPhones and sometimes leading to the ostracism of Android users. Showing up in a group chat as a green bubble has become, for some, a social faux pas.

A recent report in The Wall Street Journal underscored this dynamic and elicited a response from both the Android team and Google’s Android manager, Hiroshi Lockheimer.

“IMessage shouldn’t benefit from harassment. Texting must bring us closer, and the solution exists. Let’s solve this as one industry ”, tweeted the official Android account.

Lockheimer was more strident: “Apple’s iMessage lockdown is a documented strategy. Using peer pressure and bullying as a means to sell products is misleading for a business that places humanity and fairness at the heart of its marketing. Standards exist today to address this problem.

While Apple’s iMessage strategy has been apparent for a long time, internal emails sent by company executives that came to light during Epic Games’ recent trial confirmed the conscious importance of this strategy. Apple considered making iMessage available on Android to attract more users, but concluded that it “would hurt us more than help us” (in the words of Apple CEO Phil Schiller). As another executive, Craig Federighi put it: “iMessage on Android would just be used to delete [an] obstacle to iPhone families giving their children Android phones.

Google’s intervention is of course not purely altruistic: the company would benefit enormously from Apple making iMessage available on Android. Google has also recently pushed for the iPhone maker to support the next-generation RCS SMS standard, which is intended to replace texting and has already won support from major US carriers.

Google is also not in a good position to criticize the messaging strategies of other companies. Like Ars Technica editor-in-chief Ron Amadeo noted on Twitter, the search giant is notoriously dysfunctional when it comes to messaging, and has launched 13 separate messaging apps since iMessage released in 2011 (most of which failed).


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