iMessage for Android would have stifled innovation, according to Craig Federighi

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Craig Federighi defended the decision not to develop Messages for Android, saying it would never get a mass audience, and if Apple did, it would have hampered innovation.

Google’s recent attempts to sham Apple into adopting a common messaging standard — without doing so itself — are just the latest salvo in a contentious debate that has spanned a decade. As early as 2013, Apple considered bringing its Messages app to Android, but chose not to.

Key to this debate was a series of emails involving, among others, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi. Federighi’s 2013 emails came to light during the Epic Games v. Apple case and showed him that he thought it would “simply serve to remove a barrier for iPhone families giving their children Android phones “.

Now the the wall street journalJoanna Stern interviewed Federighi and specifically asked what happened to a Messages app on Android. “I’m not aware of his delivery,” he joked.

“My feeling,” he continued, “and I think if one reads the whole email [it] was clear, the back and forth with Eddy was if we’re going to get into a market and build an app, we have to be there in a way that’s going to make a difference.”

“[It would have to be] that we would have a lot of customers, that we would be able to deliver great experiences, but that comes at a real cost,” he said. “And my fear was that we weren’t able to do it.

“And so if we had just delivered an app that really didn’t reach critical mass on other platforms,” ​​Federighi said, “what it would have accomplished is it would have us prevented from innovating and all the ways we wanted to innovate and send messages for our customers. [It] wouldn’t have really accomplished much any other way. “

“And so we just felt, you know, choose where you can make a difference, choose where you’re going to invest,” he continued, “and do it where you would make a difference and that felt like a disposable that wasn’t going to serve the world, honestly.”