Apple admits porting iMessage to Android would hurt iPhone sales

Apple admits porting iMessage to Android would hurt iPhone sales

Apple employees, including high-ranking executives, have admitted that bringing iMessage to Android would potentially impact iPhone sales. The company’s messaging service is a key component of iOS and a major barrier that deters users from switching platforms.

In a court case brought against Apple by Epic Games (via Reddit), a court filing revealed some key comments made during depositions and in emails from Apple employees. Epic Games argues Apple purposely creates an experience that locks iPhone users into the iOS ecosystem, with iMessage being a major part of that strategy. Apple could easily make switching from iOS to Android easier by making iMessage widely available, but comments made by Apple Fellow Phil Schiller suggest that will never happen.

“Moving iMessage to Android will hurt us more than help us,” Schiller said in an email.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, echoed Schiller’s comments.

“iMessage on Android would simply serve to remove [an] obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones,” Federighi said.

Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddie Cue admitted Apple could have made iMessage for Android, saying it would provide users with easy cross-compatibility.

“[Apple] could have made a version on Android that worked with iOS,” Cue said, allowing “cross-compatibility with the iOS platform so that users of both platform would have been able to exchange messages with one another seamlessly.”

Apple decided not to develop iMessage for Android as far back as 2013, according to the documents. iMessage originally launched in 2011 with iOS 5, and has become one of the platform’s most important services, gaining features like group messages and an App Store. iMessage is by no means the best messaging platform on the market. But since it’s the default option on iPhones, iPads, and Macs everywhere, it’s what a lot of people use to communicate.

Despite seemingly having no intention of bringing iMessage to Android, Apple has released a few apps for Google’s platform, including Apple Music and Apple TV.

About author

Brandon Russell
Brandon Russell

Brandon's love of technology can be traced back to his childhood, when he would obsessively watch Back to the Future. Since then he's followed the industry and its many innovations, from handheld consoles to powerful smartphones. He's still waiting on a hoverboard.