Google has criticised Apple’s strategy of using peer pressure to discourage iMessage users from using devices other than iPhones. Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior vice president at Google said in a Twitter post, “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.”
This was retweeted by Android’s official Twitter handle along with a post that said, “iMessage should not benefit from bullying. Texting should bring us together, and the solution exists. Let’s fix this as one industry.”
Lockheimer was reacting to a story in a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that documents the experience of former iPhone users who after switching to Android found that their group chats in iMessage didn’t work as seamlessly as they did earlier. Also, the messages sent on iMessage from Android devices were coded in a green bubble making them stand out in the group.
Messages sent to iMessage from Android are delivered as text messages over the cellular network.
The WSJ report points out how users sending messages from Android were left out of group chats and even shamed by their peers.
Apple’s emphasis on a closed ecosystem has been criticised time and again and has been called a walled garden designed to keep users from moving to Android and other devices.
Apple on its part has maintained that a closed ecosystem has helped the company keep its users protected from cyber threats such as malware.
In addition to working best within the ecosystem, Apple’s iMessage is also liked for its privacy-centric features. Unlike other messaging apps, Apple restricts the amount of data collected by iMessage that can be linked to users’ identity to email, phone number, search history and device ID. In comparison, apps such as WhatsApp also collect information on purchase history, payment information, contacts, advertising data, diagnostics data and usage data.