Apple says iMessage on Android “looked like a disposable”

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Robert Triggs/Android Authority


  • An Apple executive has explained why iMessage isn’t on Android.
  • The executive claimed that an Android port would have stifled innovation.
  • He added that an Android port “seemed like a throwaway.”

Apple’s iMessage is limited to iOS devices only, but the company’s director, Craig Federighi, sent an email in 2013 suggesting that an Android version of iMessage would lead to more Android sales.

“I’m concerned that iMessage on Android will simply serve to remove a barrier preventing iPhone families from giving their children Android phones,” the Apple executive told colleague Eddie Cue at the time.

Federighi explained the apparent context of the thread:

The back and forth with Eddie was that if we’re going to get into a market and build an app, we have to be there in a way that will make a difference. That we would have lots of customers, that we would be able to offer great experiences.

“And so if we had just delivered an application that really hadn’t reached critical mass on other platforms, what it would have accomplished is it would have stopped us from innovating in any way. the ways we wanted to innovate messaging for our customers, and wouldn’t have accomplished much otherwise,” he continued.

Apple felt it had to choose where to invest its resources to make a difference, Federighi said, adding that an Android version of iMessage “so felt like a throwaway that wasn’t going to serve the world.”

Is this the real reason?

For what it’s worth, Federighi also used this thread at the time to ask how iMessage could be compelling for Android users who don’t have many friends on iOS. He also noted that iMessage needed to be more than a “slightly better app” to entice people to switch from competing messaging platforms.

Would you like to download iMessage for Android?

72 votes

Still, we can’t help but think that the main reason Apple opposes an Android port is that it would mean fewer iPhones sold, as the executive’s controversial email suggests. After all, the current green bubble/blue bubble controversy is driving increased iPhone sales among young people in the United States.

It’s also worth noting that the company has already shipped Android apps, such as Apple Music and Apple TV (on Android TV). In fact, the Android version of Apple Music was a pretty bad experience at first. Either way, it looks like Apple is still determined to keep iMessage exclusive to iOS and Mac devices for now.