In recent days, Hiroshi Lockheimer has made controversial statements regarding iMessage. Lockheimer is senior vice president of Android and following an article in the Wall Street Journal about the dominance of iMessage in the United States, he took the opportunity to accuse Apple of bullying with iMessage among teens. Now, the executive returns to demand that Apple adopts the RCS protocol which replaces SMS.
RCS as an integration protocol between Android and iPhone
Apple’s iMessage locking is a documented strategy. Using peer pressure and bullying as a means to sell products is misleading for a business that places humanity and fairness at the heart of its marketing. The standards exist today to remedy this. https://t.co/MiQqMUOrgn
– Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) January 8, 2022
In his original tweet, Lockheimer accuses iMessage of using social pressure and bullying to push iMessage and the iPhone into teens. And it points to current standards to “fix that”. Days later, Hiroshi Lockheimer offered more details about his original post:
We are not asking Apple to make iMessage available on Android. We ask Apple to support the Industry Standard for Modern Messaging (RCS) in iMessage, just as they support older SMS / MMS standards.
– Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) January 10, 2022
As he says, they do not want (we understand that he speaks on behalf of Android / Google) to force Apple to make iMessage on Android. Instead, they want you to adopt RCS as the new SMS standard. RCS messages can now be activated on Android, as it is a protocol adopted by many operators. According to the executive, its benefits include:
Encryption between users (groups not yet). Time of receipt of messages. Write in progress indicator. Better conversation groups.
This is clearly a marked improvement over SMS, which debuted in 1992 in the UK. But Apple has so far not wished to adopt the RCS. A reluctance that earned him accusations like those of Lockheimer. Although the reasons are probably different.
Google and its disastrous messaging strategy
It’s a bit of a paradox that Google accuses Apple of dragging its feet when it comes to adopting new features, when it was the search engine company that discriminated against Apple users with their cards when it came to adopting new features. they have become standard. Leaving aside that old rush for tech giants, one wonders why Apple is reluctant to embrace RCS.
Since Cupertino, they have never commented on the matter. Neither for nor against. But it is that it would be risky to bet on everything that Google supports in the field of instant messaging, given its disastrous record. Since ArsTechnica, they have illustrated us in this regard with the fifteen years of Google failures in messaging.
Google has its own graveyard of messaging apps, full of quirks and quirks. Why would Apple follow a proposal like RCS, which could disappear tomorrow?
Google Talk debuted in 2005 and then suffered a slow death. Then came Google Voice, Google Wave, Google Buzz. Google+ also integrated messaging and Hangouts, which would also die down along the way even if we were only in 2011 and 2013 respectively. Then came Hello and the myriad of chats from different Google services, not integrated with each other. At the moment it looks like the chosen option is “Chat”, we’ll see how long that lasts.
As if that weren’t enough, from ArsTechnica, they point out how “bad” RCS is, due to its reliance on operator bureaucracy. Any small change must be approved by all in an eternal debate. They also point the finger at the great longevity of the RCS, since “it is a standard which was created in 2008, which means that it has the standards of 2008”. In 2008, the iPhone was barely a year old, while iMessage was created in 2011 by and for the iPhone.
Another big problem with RCS is that it is “tied” to a phone number instead of a username. This means that supporting multiple devices for a single user becomes more difficult than with an account independent of the phone number. For all of these reasons, Apple’s reluctance to embrace RCS is more than evident. Charges like Lockheimer’s are not going to push Apple in the other direction.