google messages rcs android enable

Hiroshi Lockheimer oversees all of Google’s operating systems as Senior Vice President of Platforms and Ecosystems. In recent years, he has been very critical of Apple not supporting the RCS standard to make iOS messaging more interoperable with Android, and the latest salvo on iMessage is the harshest yet.

The Android chief and RCS proponent this morning quote tweeted a Wall Street Journal article about iMessage’s dominance among an “army of texting tweens” and how that has led young Android users in particular to feel ostracized when communicating with iOS users. Lockheimer said: 

Apple’s iMessage lock-in is a documented strategy. Using peer pressure and bullying as a way to sell products is disingenuous for a company that has humanity and equity as a core part of its marketing. The standards exist today to fix this.

By “documented,” he’s likely referring to how it came to light that Apple’s Phil Schiller in 2016 expressed that “moving iMessage to Android will hurt us more than help us,” while software chief Craig Federighi similarly said that “iMessage on Android would simply serve to remove [an] obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones.” Both comments came to light as part of the Apple and Epic lawsuit.

Lockheimer believes that Apple’s decision to not support the Rich Communication Services standard is meant to protect iMessage’s vendor lock-in effect. RCS would modernize SMS/MMS with iMessage-like features, including typing indicators with read receipts, higher-quality photos, sending over Wi-Fi/mobile data, and Business Messaging. 

With that support present, the Google executive insinuates that there would be less pressure to get an iPhone as messaging an Android user, or vice versa, would be a much more modern and comparable experience.

Various Google executives have encouraged Apple to adopt RCS in the past year and argued about the security ramifications of iOS not doing so, but today’s comments are the harshest words yet. The quote RT has been retweeted by other Googlers this morning and the Android Twitter account.

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Abner Li

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