Epic deposition shows how differently Google and Apple treat messaging

Aurich Lawson

A new deposition (first noticed by The Verge) within the Epic Video games v. Apple case reveals Apple’s internal deliberations over presumably bringing iMessage to Android, together with worries from Apple executives that if Google purchased WhatsApp, the search large may win the messaging wars.

As soon as upon a time, Google was dealing with a serious messaging determination because it was contemplating shopping for WhatsApp. The rumors first began in April 2013, when Digital Traits reported that Google was negotiating a $1 billion buyout of the corporate. WhatsApp formally shot the rumor down simply a few days later, however between the beginning and finish of this rumor, Apple’s executives began speaking.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of Web Software program and Providers, began making the case that the corporate ought to battle Google+WhatsApp with iMessage on Android, writing in an e mail, “We actually have to deliver iMessage to Android. I’ve had a few individuals investigating this however we must always go full velocity and make this an official undertaking.”

Cue continued along with his reasoning, saying, “Can we wish to lose one of the necessary apps in a cellular surroundings to Google? They’ve search, mail, free video, and [are] rising shortly in browsers. We’ve got the perfect messaging app and we must always make it the business customary. I don’t know what methods we are able to monetize it nevertheless it doesn’t value us so much to run.”

Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of Software program Engineering, joined in on the e-mail chain:

Do you might have any ideas on how we might make switching to iMessage (from WhatsApp) compelling to lots of Android customers who don’t have a bunch of iOS buddies? iMessage is a pleasant app/service, however to get customers to modify social networks we’d want greater than a slightly higher app. (Because of this Google is keen to pay $1 billion—for the community, not for the app.)… Within the absence of a method to turn into the first messaging service for [the] bulk of cellular phone customers, I’m involved iMessage on Android would merely serve to take away an impediment to iPhone households giving their children Android telephones.

The deposition continues investigating Apple’s iMessage-on-Android discussions, however sadly, this a part of the doc has been redacted.

WhatsApp denied the buyout rumors however ended up being purchased only a yr later. Google’s bid for the corporate reportedly reached $10 billion, however that wasn’t sufficient to match Fb, which purchased WhatsApp in February 2014 for what ended up being a $22 billion deal. The Fb/WhatsApp deal was one in all the biggest tech acquisitions ever, and with Fb behind the wheel, WhatsApp has grown from 450 million customers to over 2 billion. Cue was utterly proper concerning the trajectory of WhatsApp.

For Google, not shopping for WhatsApp in 2013 seems like a serious turning level. Google would go on to launch seven competing messaging and video apps over time: Google Hangouts in 2013; Google Areas, Google Allo, and Google Duo in 2016; and Google Chat and Google Meet in 2017. The corporate additionally pushed for RCS over Google Messages in 2019. Cue’s prediction that the corporate may “lose” to a Google-led WhatsApp now looks as if a dream from a bygone period.

Cue additionally known as messaging “one of the necessary apps in a cellular surroundings,” which represents a putting distinction from how Google approaches messaging. At Google, messaging is simply ever dealt with by an limitless collection of underfunded, unstable facet initiatives led by job-hopping undertaking managers. Google releases a brand new messaging app about each 12-18 months, making it very troublesome for any single app to realize traction and decreasing client confidence in any particular person product. The heads of those initiatives typically go away the corporate shortly after a splashy product launch, and with no top-down course on what the corporate ought to help, the merchandise normally begin winding down as soon as the chief bails.

Federighi’s feedback echo Apple’s longstanding place that iMessage is a key lock-in part of Apple’s walled backyard and that the corporate should not make it simple for “iPhone households” to include Android units. The Epic case earlier revealed a 2016 remark from Apple’s Phil Schiller, saying that “transferring iMessage to Android will damage us greater than assist us.”

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