Apple 'holding back' own customers who use modern SMS: Google

by IANS |

San Francisco/New Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) After expressing its displeasure over Apple's alleged bullying behaviour around iMessages, Google on Tuesday stepped up its fight, saying the tech giant should support Android the way it does other SMS/MMS standards and should not hold back its own customers.

Google's head of Android, Hiroshi Lockheimer, said that Google is not asking Apple to make iMessage available on Android.

"We're asking Apple to support the industry standard for modern messaging (RCS) in iMessage, just as they support the older SMS/MMS standards," he posted in a tweet thread.

"By not incorporating RCS, Apple is holding back the industry and holding back the user experience for not only Android users but also their own customers," Lockheimer added.

RCS (Rich Communication Services) is a next generation SMS protocol that upgrades text messaging with features like payments, high-resolution photo and file sharing, location sharing, video calls and much more.

Google last week accused Apple of bullying its way into smartphone texting, saying that the iPhone maker deliberately creates peer pressure among the teens to use iMessages and shun Android-based texting.

Apple's messaging service turns texts from Android users green instead of the iOS-native blue, a calculated move which has turned iMessage into a status symbol among teens.

"iMessage should not benefit from bullying. Texting should bring us together, and the solution exists. Let's fix this as one industry," the official Android account had said in a tweet.

Lockheimer said in his latest tweet that SMS has evolved, and it's better.

"You can see read receipts, typing indicators, better groups, secure 1:1 messages (groups coming soon) etc. That new standard is called RCS, and it's available now. Supporting RCS would improve the experience for both iOS and Android users alike," he said.

"RCS will also improve the experience and privacy for iOS users," the Android boss posted.

Apple did consider making iMessage available on Android to attract more users, but concluded that doing so would "hurt us more than help us".

"iMessage on Android would simply serve to remove (an) obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones," Apple's Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, said recently.

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