An Epic Games brief has already revealed that Apple executives decided against bringing iMessage to Android so as to keep users locked into its ecosystem. Now, the latest deposition in the ongoing Apple v. Epic trial reveals that Eddy Cue wanted Apple to bring iMessage to Android.
Eddy Cue is currently the VP of software and services at Apple. The email conversation between Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi from 2013 details how Cue wanted to get iMessage to Android but was shot down by other executives.
Cue: 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… 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.
Federighi: Do you have any thoughts on how we would make switching to iMessage (from WhatsApp) compelling to masses of Android users who don’t have a bunch of iOS friends? iMessage is a nice app/service, but to get users to switch social networks we’d need more than a marginally better app. (This is why Google is willing to pay $1 billion — for the network, not for the app.)… In the absence of a strategy to become the primary messaging service for [the] bulk of cell phone users, I am concerned [that] iMessage on Android would simply serve to remove an obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones.
In the deposition, Cue even says that he remembers. “the time of wanting to do an iMessage app on Android ourselves.” The app would have been built keeping cross-compatibility with iOS devices in mind. As previously reported, Federighi feared that bringing iMessage to Android would allow a lot of families to give their kids an Android instead of an iPhone.
Apple is unlikely to ever bring iMessage to Android. Epic Games is using this point to prove how Apple is using App Store exclusivity to protect its market position. The deposition has also revealed that Apple once worked with Adobe on bringing Flash to iOS, but ditched the idea later due to “abysmal” performance.