The legal conflict between Epic Games and Apple has already had a pretty big fallout. Public opinion has already pressured Apple and Google to reduce marketplace fees for developers in the App Store and Play Store, and a number of Apple’s antics have fallen under the control of politicians and the public. Now opens a new court order from the Epic Games can of worms that is iMessage exclusivity.
It’s no secret that Apple maintains a number of proprietary products and services to prevent its users from jumping on competing platforms, but few have been as successful as iMessage. In preparation for the trial, which began on May 3, Epic Games filed a briefing containing excerpts demonstrating that Apple̵
The interrogation line aims to demonstrate Apple’s use of platform lock-in to create a monopoly that keeps users dependent on the App Store and the In-App Payment system, which came under fire when Epic launched a version of Fortnite. that was put at the bottom of Apple’s payment systems.
58. Apple has recognized the power of iMessage to attract and retain users within its ecosystem.
one. Already in 2013, Apple decided not to develop a version of iMessage for Android OS. (Cue Dep. 92: 22-93: 1.)
b. Cue testified that Apple “could have made a version on Android that worked with iOS” so that “there would have been cross-compatibility with the iOS platform so that users of both platforms would have been able to exchange messages with each other problem-free. ”(Cue Dep. 92: 5-9; 92: 11-16.)
c. However, Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering and the head of iOS, feared that “iMessage on Android simply serves to remove [an] barrier for iPhone families giving their children Android phones ”. (PX407, at ‘122.)
d. Phil Schiller, an Apple director in charge of the App Store, agreed that Apple should not offer iMessage on Android devices. (Cue Dep. 92: 18-93: 1.)
e. In 2016, when a former Apple employee commented that “the # 1 most difficult [reason] to leave the Apple universe app is iMessage. . . iMessage poses serious lock-in “to the Apple ecosystem, Mr. Schiller commented that” moving iMessage to Android will hurt us more than help us, this email illustrates why “. (PX416, at ‘610; Cue Dep. 114: 14-115: 2.)
The statements cite Eddy Cue (SVP for Internet Software and Services), who acknowledges that Apple was able to develop a version of iMessage for Android as early as 2013. Craig Federighi (SVP for Software Engineering) and Phil Schiller (SVP for Worldwide Marketing ), however, expressed concern that it would harm the company if the software provided provided removes an obstacle for people who might otherwise want to use Android. A further comment from another Apple employee underscores that iMessage is the biggest factor in keeping people in Apple’s ecosystem, referring to it as “serious lock-in.”
Of course, there is no technical limitation that prevents Apple from developing iMessage for Android, and most people already assume that this has been a strategic decision. Apple has never commented on whether they plan to build a version of iMessage for Android, but with these statements in the open, it is easy to understand why there has been radio silence on the subject. It does not look good to public opinion, and it may help Epic Games bring its case of unfair business practices to developers, but this practice is not illegal and is unlikely to attract the attention of regulators – which means Apple is likely to become the course. In other words, don’t expect iMessage to officially hit Android anytime soon.