Given the ongoing lawsuit against Apple, Epic Games has revealed in a court deposition that Apple deliberately kept iMessage from Android for monopolistic gains. Epic forwarded classified emails and other internal documents from Apple’s top staff to buttress the argument that the iPhone manufacturer engaged in activities that locked in customers to its services.
Based on the internal documents, Apple made it clear that the decision to prevent customers from accessing iMessage on Android devices was intentional and calculated to boost profits. Apple took extreme measures to lock customers into its digital ecosystem in a manner that reeked of excessive market dominance. The lock-in did not only force consumers to use Apple’s services exclusively, but it also forced app merchants to pay huge commissions to the tech company via its in-App payment system.
The problem between Epic Games and Apple however started when the former updated its Fortnite app to circumvent Apple’s payment system.
Internal documents reveal that Apple kept iMessage from Android as an ace to attract and keep users within its ecosystem. To this end, the company chose not to create iMessage for Android devices in 2013 because “moving iMessage to Android will hurt us more than help us…this email illustrates why,” said Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, Eddie Cue, and Apple Fellow Phil Schiller in a 2016 email, the Verge reports.
Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering and the executive in charge of iOS, Craig Federighi, even went as far as saying that “iMessage on Android would simply serve to remove [an] obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones.” Other top Apple executives seemed to agree with the proposition and iMessage has been kept from Android device users as a result.
Before the classified documents were made open in the court, millions of Android users never understood why there was no version of iMessage for their devices, but they know better now. People now see that Apple intentionally monopolized the situation for corporate gain with no thoughts for the personal and business needs of other classes of potential users.
The unsavory revelations may give Epic Games some edge in its lawsuit, but tech analysts said Apple hadn’t done something illegal and industry regulators may not wade into the crisis. Cue said Apple might have developed an iMessage version that would work on Android and which would have facilitated interactions between iOS and Android users, but the company never did. This means Apple’s iMessage may never see the light of day on Android again, most especially in the light of Epic’s lawsuit and Apple’s walled-garden policy.