iMessage: the rag burns between Apple and Google around the RCS

Google still hopes to convince Apple to adopt RCS and continues to make this known. The Mountain View firm, through its vice-president in charge of platforms, even goes so far as to accuse its rival of encouraging the harassment of Android users. Explanations.

It’s no secret that Google has been advocating for Rich Communication Services (RCS) for years. This protocol is regularly presented as the successor to SMS, or SMS 2.0, but the Mountain View company is struggling to get it off the ground. If progress is notable in several countries including France, the deployment takes time due to the lack of effort of certain Google partners. Desired by mobile operators, this new generation SMS which wants to fight against proprietary messaging also comes up against Apple. The apple brand does not want to hear about this standard and prefers to rely on its in-house solution, iMessage.

The iPhone and iMessage, vectors of social pressure in the USA?

A situation that never ceases to exasperate Google and that would have repercussions on the whole of society. On iPhones, Apple takes care to make a distinction between messages sent from an Android smartphone – which are displayed in green – and those exchanged between the brand’s devices. These are offered in the form of a blue bubble. This difference in treatment makes it possible to distinguish between the messages, but it would encourage harassment if one believes the Wall Street Journal.

On its site, Apple explains the difference between iMessage and SMS/MMS.©Screenshot/Apple

The latter explains that non-iPhone holders would be more the target of ridicule among teenagers, because of this little green bubble. A sign of social distinction, it would go so far as to socially isolate certain “green texters” as explained by the survey of the American site. Several testimonies report a certain discrimination against Android users. Remember that the average price of a device under the Google OS is much lower than that of the iPhone.

On social networks, Google did not fail to react to this investigation and denounce the practices of its biggest rival. “Apple’s locking of iMessage is a documented strategy. Using peer pressure and intimidation as a way to sell products is misleading for a company that has humanity and fairness at the heart of its marketing. The standards exist today to solve this problem”, explained Hiroshi Lockheimer a few days ago. A virulent exit from the vice-president in charge of platforms at Google.

By referring to “standards”, this senior Google official is obviously referring to the RCS protocol. Following the reactions and comments, he also wished to clarify his thoughts in a series of tweets published on his personal account. “We’re 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”, he says. And to specify: “Why is this important? Phone-based messaging is the fallback that we all know will work”.

He adds : “If you want to reach someone and you don’t know if they are using application x, y or z, you are sure that sending a text (SMS) will work. This is because it is a standard and is supported by virtually all mobile devices. That’s probably why Apple started supporting SMS.”. Hiroshi Lockheimer’s point of view continues with a reminder of the advantages of this SMS 2.0, stating in passing that the “RCS will also improve the experience and privacy for iOS users”. However, he ends with a new spade against his best enemy: “By not integrating RCS, Apple is holding back the industry and the user experience not only for Android users but also for its own customers”.

While waiting for a response from Cupertino, the official Android account also delivered its point of view: “iMessage should not benefit harassment. Texting should bring us together, and the solution is there. Let’s solve this problem as one industry”.

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