Many people find it difficult to switch from iPhone to Android devices. One of the main obstacles is iMessage, the exclusive messaging service of Apple. Android users have long wished for an iMessage app for their platform, but Apple has not made it available. Despite Android users begging for it, Apple refuses to release an official iMessage app for Android.
iMessage app for Android?
Even though there are some alternative solutions, they are not as convenient or reliable as iMessage. But Epic Games, giants of the Fortnite Battle Royale, are charging into the courtroom seeking justice for all Android refugees. They’re fighting for open communication and user choice. They claim that Apple’s executives deliberately create an ecosystem lock-in by restricting iMessage to iOS devices.
Apple vs Epic Games
Epic Games and Apple have been in a legal battle for a year over the removal of Fortnite from the App Store. Epic Games accuses Apple of creating an unfair and anti-competitive ecosystem that prevents users from switching to other platforms.
This allegation is based on the statements of Apple’s executives, who admit that they want to keep users loyal to their products and services. Some of these services, such as iMessage and FaceTime, are very popular and desired by Android users. But Apple does not allow them to access them. This legal battle is just heating up, with implications for the future of mobile communication, app development, and user freedom.
Apple and Epic Games Conflict in History
The history of Epic Games and Apple’s conflict is a long and complex one, involving legal battles, public campaigns, and industry implications. Here is a brief summary of the main events:
- The conflict started on August 13, 2020, when Epic Games updated Fortnite to allow users to pay Epic directly for in-app purchases, bypassing Apple’s App Store payment system and its 30% fee.
- Apple responded by removing Fortnite from the App Store, citing a violation of its guidelines. Epic Games then sued Apple, accusing it of engaging in anti-competitive and monopolistic behavior by restricting app distribution and payment options on iOS devices.
- Epic Games also launched a public campaign called #FreeFortnite, which aimed to rally its fans and other developers against Apple’s policies. It also released a parody video of Apple’s famous 1984 commercial, depicting Apple as a tyrannical corporation.
- The trial between Epic Games and Apple took place from May 3 to May 24, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Both sides presented their arguments and evidence. Furthermore, they called witnesses such as Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney and Apple CEO Tim Cook.
- On September 10, 2021, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issued a ruling in favor of Apple on nine of ten counts. But it was found against Apple on its anti-steering policies under the California Unfair Competition Law.
iMessage for Android: Apple locking-in its customers
In the court filing, Epic Games shares some interesting points made by some of the renowned Apple executives. These points are
1. The most difficult reason to leave the Apple universe app is iMessage. “iMessage amounts to serious lock-in”, says unnamed Apple employee.
2. Phillip Schiller, an Apple Fellow states that “moving iMessage to Android will hurt us more than it helps us, this email illustrates the actual reason. Also Read: FAU-G brings multiplayer team Deathmatch Mode
3. Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering and executive in charge of iOS, states that “iMessage for Android would simply serve to remove an obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones”.
Support for iMessage on Android
Apple’s executives have repeatedly indicated that they do not want to make iMessage and FaceTime available for other platforms. However, in his testimony, Mr. Cue admitted that Apple had the capability to create an Android app for iMessage and FaceTime that would be compatible with iOS devices. This would enable users on both platforms to communicate with each other smoothly. Mr. Eddie Cue is the senior vice president of internet software and services at Apple.
According to the court documents, Epic Games alleges that Apple had the ability to make iMessage and FaceTime compatible with Android and other platforms since 2013. However, Apple chose not to do so, despite Steve Jobs’ promise that FaceTime would be an open standard. Apple’s services remained exclusive to iOS and Mac devices. Federighi, Apple’s software chief, argued that this was a strategic decision to prevent users from leaving Apple’s ecosystem by removing its unique features.
Alternatives to iMessage for Android platform
There are many messaging apps that can be used as alternatives to iMessage on Android devices. Some of the popular ones are:
- Facebook Messenger: This app allow users to chat with your Facebook friends and contacts, as well as make voice and video calls. Users can send stickers and GIFs, play games, and more.
- WhatsApp Messenger: This app uses phone number to connect users with other WhatsApp users. Furthermore, it lets users to send text, voice, and video messages, as well as photos, documents, and locations.
- Telegram Messenger: This app is known for its speed, security, and cloud-based synchronization. Users can send messages, files, and media of any type and size. Furthermore, they can create groups and channels, use bots, and encrypt your chats.
- Signal Private Messenger: This app is focused on privacy and security, and uses end-to-end encryption for all your communications. You can also set timers for your messages to disappear, and verify the identity of your contacts.
- AirMessage: This app is the closest thing to getting iMessage on Android. It requires a Mac computer to act as a server for your messages. You can send and receive iMessages, as well as use features like Tapback, effects, and stickers.