- When Tim Cook was asked to fix issues with iPhone sending text messages to Android, he shrugged it off with a blunt comment.
- Apple’s CEO is ignoring years of user complaints in lieu of supporting the RCS standard.
- The company’s refusal to fix this is a burden on iOS users, not Android users.
I was surprised when Tim Cook recently told a reporter who is also an iPhone user about it Apple won’t fix texting issues with Android Because users do not ask for it – and if a person wants to send high-quality videos to his mother, “Buy your mother an iPhone”.
I found the CEO’s response surprisingly unsuccessful. I think it was also a mistake.
For years, customers have been complaining about iPhone/Android texting issues on Apple’s community site – the place where customers ask Apple to fix things. there More than 600 jobs around it.
As a former analyst at Gartner and Jupiter who has covered Apple for decades (and spent several years at Apple as a marketing executive), Cook’s tone, however humorously intended, wasn’t funny for users who wanted their devices “just” the job.” That includes the ability to send messages Seamlessly to friends, family or colleagues who use Android phones.
Apple has made billions of Windows customers in the past
Back during the heyday of the iPod, top Apple executives lobbied for iTunes on Windows to have full iPod support, despite Steve Jobs’ reluctance. With this said, Apple could sell iPods to Windows customers and make money from them, they argued, for much more money than keeping the iPod as a costly accessory only for Macs.
It took these executives an effort to persuade Jobs to back off (with Jobs warning that if he failed, they would be blamed) but it turned out to be one of the best decisions Apple has ever made. iPod and iTunes have become a multibillion dollar company, a major source of Apple revenue for years, and the blueprint for Apple’s current lucrative services business.
So, ironically, some of the same CEOs have advocated not allowing messaging interoperability with Android.
Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering and CEO in charge of iOS, feared, “iMessage on Android would simply remove [an] An obstacle for iPhone families to give their children Android phones. “
In emails from 2016 It was announced through court filings“iMessage is reaching the point of dangerous shutdown” on the Apple ecosystem, a former Apple employee wrote. Phil Schiller, a former senior vice president of global marketing for Apple and now an Apple associate, responded by writing, “Moving iMessage to Android will hurt us more than help us.”
Apple should solve iMessage with RCH
However, if Apple creates an iMessage app for Android, the company can solve a user issue on both platforms. But it is not even necessary to create an Android app. can simply use widely adopted A standard called Rich Communication Services.
RCS is no better than iMessage. Nor is it worse. However, it is a technology created by Google, Apple’s biggest competitor in the mobile field.
If Apple just added RCS support to me iOS will allow Apple to keep all the great iOS features to itself but will allow iOS users to send messages containing attachments like videos and graphics messages to Android users with complete fidelity.
Of course, Apple likes interoperability when there’s profit at stake, especially stable and predictable service revenue. (Wall Street likes stable, predictable revenue.) Apple TV+ lives on on other platforms, even on Samsung TVs and screens. Apple Music lives well in the Google Play App Store. There is probably no billion dollar business behind messaging interoperability.
But the company’s refusal to fix this is a burden on iOS users, not Android users. If iMessage is the main reason iPhone users stay around, Apple is on a slippery slope. The more these interoperability issues in Apple users, the more users will find ways to get around iMessage. It’s already happening outside the US, where more users are adopting services like WhatsApp or Signal.
Once users trust their communications with someone else’s app, the “lock” disappears.
Look, I’m not saying the iPhone or Apple is doomed – this is Apple for 2022, not 2002. Apple will surely sell a number of “amazing, best ever” iPhone 14s this year (in a stunning purple color, so iPhone buyers can… They make a visual statement that their iPhones are this year’s model, not some old iPhone 13 or worse, 12).
In fact, it is in Apple’s self-interest to help all smartphone users
But despite Apple’s wishes, Android – the competition that Apple refuses to acknowledge by name in public – is not going away. With a much larger share than iOSall over the world Android The Standard platform, not iOS
Still, Apple’s DNA, more than ever, is profitability by maintaining complete control of their platforms. Contrary to conventional marketing wisdom, Apple doesn’t give up on razors: it sells razors, razors, shaving cream, and a Dopp bag. It wants to control the entire ecosystem.
Any kind of Android migration would cost Apple not just iPhone sales, but all paid add-ons and companion devices like the Apple Watch and other aftermarket products.
Apple acts as if it can protect this ecosystem by pretending that there are no other options for users or that they are much worse than iOS or iPad OS. This is not just a worldwide perception, far from Jobs’ famous “reality distortion” field created in Apple Park.
The undistorted truth, despite Tim Cook’s comments, is Apple users an act You want interoperability. Supporting it will keep users loyal to iOS, not frustrated with it.
The bottom line is that it’s in Apple’s self-interest to open up the ecosystem a bit, not because it’s profitable, but because it’s the right thing to do for all smartphone users. Apple should act sooner rather than later before the walled garden they created becomes another Maginot line.
Michael Gartenberg is a former Senior Director of Marketing at Apple and has covered the company for more than two decades at Gartner, Jupiter Research, and Altimeter Group. He can be reached on Twitter at Tweet embed.
The ideas expressed are those of the author.
Disclosure: The author owns shares of Apple Inc.