iMessage for Android killed due to lock-in, legal documents reveal

JC Torres - Apr 9, 2021, 12:52am CDT
iMessage for Android killed due to lock-in, legal documents reveal

There are two primary iOS apps that Android users want on Google’s platform. iTunes, which eventually became Apple Music, did eventually land on Android but iMessage and its convenient messaging systems remain a distant dream. There may have been a time when bringing iMessage to Android was a possibility but, as revealed in a document used by Epic Games in its Fortnite-related lawsuit against Apple, the iPhone maker’s execs shot that idea done in fear of losing people to Android.

Epic Games and Apple are gearing up to meet in court next month over the former’s addition of a feature in Fortnite that bypassed iOS’s payment system. The game developer has raised the stakes by painting Apple as a company that uses its dominant position to create a monopoly of its own platform and it is using depositions of Apple’s own executives to prove its point

Among those depositions is one SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue. According to Cue, Apple was definitely capable of developing an Android version of iMessage that worked with Apple’s ecosystem. This was even back in 2013 when the rivaling mobile platforms were in their infancy, revealing that there was actually some interest within to company to make that happen.

There was, however, also strong push back, specifically from SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi and SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller. The two argued that an iMessage for Android would hurt the company more than doing it good since it would remove one reason why families use iPhones instead of Android phones, especially for kids. Employees were further quoted as referring to iMessage as a serious lock-in factor of the Apple ecosystem.

These statements are hardly surprising since most probably already presumed that was the case anyway. Hearing them used as legal arguments, however, makes it all too real and gives Epic Games more ammo to make its point in court.


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