Apple is aware that the blue bubbles on iMessage are an entry barrier for people who want to switch to Android. For that reason, the service was deliberately kept from appearing on Google’s mobile OS. The revelations come after depositions of and emails from Apple employees and high-ranking executives.
This revelation was part of a court filing by Epic Games, as it takes on the iPhone manufacturer in a legal dispute. Epic argues that Apple is deliberately doing things like that to lock customers into its ecosystem of devices.
The Apple Universe
iMessage was cited as one of the key services that help make this possible. Epic also referred to comments made by Apple’s senior Veep of Internet Software and Services (Eddy Cue), senior Veep of software engineering (Craig Federighi), and Apple Fellow Phil Schiller, to support the argument.
An unnamed former employee of the iPhone maker said in an email from 2016 that the most difficult reason to leave the Apple “universe app” is iMessage. It amounts to serious lock-in.
Schiller responded to it saying that moving iMessage to Android will ‘hurt us more than help us. This email illustrates why.”
The filing by Epic says that Apple decided not to develop iMessage for Android as far back as 2013, after the launch of the messaging service with iOS 5 in 2011.
Eddy Cue was cited to support this argument and he admits that Apple could have made a version on Android that worked with iOS so that users of both would be able to exchange messages without trouble. They never developed it.
Federighi’s concern, according to Epic, was that iMessage on Android would simply remove an obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones.