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An Apple exec wanted to bring iMessage to Android way back in 2013

It turns out that at least one Apple executive really wanted to see iMessage come to Android.

Published onApril 28, 2021

Apple Logo 2 EOY 2020
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • An Apple executive pushed the company to make iMessage available for Android back in 2013.
  • The executive cited the threat of Google buying WhatsApp as a reason to steam ahead.
  • A fellow Apple executive pushed back against the proposal.

Senior Apple executive Eddie Cue previously conceded that an Android version of iMessage could be developed, but fellow executive Phil Schiller claimed that “moving iMessage to Android will hurt us more than help us.”

Now, more documents have been revealed as part of the Apple/Epic case (h/t: The Verge), showing that Cue was ready to go full-speed with the project in order to make iMessage the “industry standard” for messaging apps.

“We really need to bring iMessage to Android. I have had a couple of people investigating this but we should go full speed and make this an official project,” reads an excerpt of an April 2013 email written by Cue and sent to high-ranking Apple senior-vice president Craig Federighi.

Arguments for and against iMessage on Android

Cue also suggested Apple could lose the mobile messaging game to Google if it didn’t develop iMessage for Android. This was in response to reports at the time that Google had offered to acquire WhatsApp for $1 billion. Of course, Facebook later swooped in to buy the popular messaging platform in a deal worth $19 billion.

“Do we want to lose one of the most important apps in a mobile environment to Google? They have search, mail, free video, and growing quickly in browsers. We have the best messaging app and we should make it the industry standard. I don’t know what ways we can monetize it but it doesn’t cost us a lot to run.”

Would you like to see iMessage come to Android?

366 votes

Federighi appeared to pour cold water on the suggestion, asking Cue how iMessage could be compelling for Android users who don’t have many iOS-toting friends. He added that iMessage needed to be more than a “marginally better app” to get users to switch from rival messaging platforms.

Federighi argued that without a strategy to make iMessage the go-to messaging app for most phone users “I am concerned iMessage on Android would simply serve to remove an obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones.”

Either way, it’s clear that there was clearly dissent within Apple about the idea of bringing iMessage to Android. Would you want to see iMessage on Android though? Let us know by taking the poll above.

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