Eddie cue tried that Manzana develop a version of iMessage for Android in 2013 to try to compete against Google. The proposal was made in reaction to a report that claimed that the search engine tried to buy WhatsApp For one thousand million of dollars.
In that year, WhatsApp was already popular, but it was an exclusive app for iOS and it was independent. Rumors of buying Google they raised fears that it would finally make it to Android, and Cue wanted to get ahead of the game.
All of this has been revealed as part of a statement made by the executive at the trial of Manzana versus Epic. The latter attempts to prove that the iOS App Store is an abuse of power.
The final goal of the publisher with this demand is to be able to offer their own video game store on iOS, and not have to pay a percentage of each sale to Apple, as they already do on Android.
One of the strong points of the accusation is the knowledge of the strength that gives them the exclusivity of iMessage in the Apple ecosystem. They argue it using an email exchange between Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi and Eddie Cue, where, among other things, they assure that expanding the chat app to other operating systems “will hurt us more than it will help us.”
“That iMessage is marginally better than WhatsApp is not enough”
In the exchange of emails that can be consulted in its entirety in the public documents of the trial, Craig Federighi —Director of Software Engineering at Apple— explains that the reason why Google would buy WhatsApp It is through the network, not through the app:
Do we have any idea how we will get masses of users to leave WhatsApp and switch to iMessage? iMessage works well as an app and as a service, but in order to migrate a person between one social network and another, we need more than an app that is marginally better.
In the absence of a clear strategy to become the most important instant messaging app for mobile device users, I am concerned that iMessage on Android will become the perfect excuse for parents to buy cheap Android phones for their children and stop buying iPhones for them.
It is important to remember the context in which these emails are written, not intended to be public communication, in a fairly intimate tone. It is a discussion of how to do the best and what is best for Manzana, which is the job of these managers.
The absence of iMessage on Android ended up benefiting a player that Cue or Federighi didn’t have: Facebook, who acquired WhatsApp and made it the world’s most popular mobile messaging app. Not only that, but it was precisely the interoperability between operating systems that catapulted it among billions of users.