Apple and Google take two very different approaches when it comes to apps.
Google is happy to push out its apps on both Android and iOS, trying to get the maximum reach possible. Everything from Google Maps to Gmail is available to download for free on Apple’s mobile operating system.
But in contrast, Apple jealously guards its software products, almost never releasing them on any other platforms. Apple only has three apps available for Android: An app that supports Beats Pill+ speakers, Apple Music, and an app for transferring Android users’ data to iOS.
Prior to WWDC, Apple’s big developer conference in June, there were rumours that Apple was about to launch its famed iMessage messaging app on Android in a play for market share.
But the conference came and went, and there was no Android version of iMessage to be seen.
Why? Walt Mossberg, a famed technology journalist, posed the question to an unnamed “senior Apple executive” while at the conference. The executive’s answer, which Mossberg recounted in a column for The Verge, was simple: Apple doesn’t need to, or want to.
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.
So there you have it.
Apple introduced a whole host of new features for iMessage at WWDC to make it more interesting as rivals like WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger beef up their own offerings — and in turn make its hardware products more attractive to consumers. It’s not about to throw that away by launching the app on a rival platform.
Want to use iMessage? Buy an iPhone.