An Apple Executive has Explained Why iMessage Isn’t Available for Android

BY Evan Selleck

Published 16 Jun 2016


iMessage is one of those features for iOS that Apple uses as a major focal point, and it appears it’s going to stay an iOS-only feature for at least a while longer.

Still, that hasn’t stopped the Rumor Mill from suggesting the feature could land on other, competing platforms. Like Google’s Android. In fact, a report surfaced a week ago, before the keynote kicking off this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, and before Apple announced a slate of new features baked into its iMessage platform along with the launch of iOS 10, that outlined Apple’s plans to bring iMessage to Android.

Now, a few days after the keynote has ended we know that rumor wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. iMessage still isn’t available for Android, and a conversation with an unnamed Apple executive and Walt Mossberg seems to suggest the feature won’t be available for any other platforms any time soon. Reporting for The Verge, Mossberg’s editorial says that Apple’s got at least two reasons for keeping iMessage on iOS:

The first is that iOS, with its 1 billion active devices, is enough of a base line for its endeavors with artificial intelligence (AI), and doesn’t feel the need to expand to other platforms. And, second, Apple sees its iMessage platform as a superior messaging service, and keeping it on iOS as a must-have feature simply makes sense to the company.

“The best example of this was that it again declined to extend its much-loved and much-used iMessage messaging system to Android, even though Google still seems vulnerable in this area. Apple did announce a clutch of new features for iMessage, like giant emojis, and handwritten texts. And it’s turning the service into a true platform that can host third-party apps like cash transfer services, stickers, photo editing, and restaurant reservation apps. But all of this seemed more about keeping people on Apple hardware than about building the biggest possible services.

When I asked a senior Apple executive why iMessage wasn’t being expanded to other platforms, he gave two answers. First, he said, Apple considers its own user base of 1 billion active devices to provide a large enough data set for any possible AI learning the company is working on. And, second, having a superior messaging platform that only worked on Apple devices would help sales of those devices — the company’s classic (and successful) rationale for years.”

Of course, the rumor that Apple would bring iMessage to Android was helped by the fact Apple actually launched Apple Music for Android soon after releasing the service for its own devices. Alas, it appears that iMessage will remain an iOS exclusive.

[via The Verge]