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Apple’s programmes deliberately trap users into the iPhone ecosystem, stopping them from easily switching from iOS to Android, and iMessage is one of the primary culprits. At least, that is according to a court filing by Epic Games, which cites facts from some of Apple’s top executives.
As the Epic vs. Apple case revolves around the App Store’s contentious 30% commision on in-app sales, recent disclosures made public ahead of the trial next month shed further light on some of the firms’ main claims against one another.
Epic claims that Apple deliberately built its offerings to lock customers into the iOS environment, making it difficult for them to leave. Although certain applications, such as Apple Music, are available on many platforms, iMessage has long been exclusive to Apple.
Epic’s filing alleges one unnamed former employee said in an email, “The #1 most difficult [reason] to leave the Apple universe app is iMessage … iMessage amounts to serious lock-in.” Following the email, Apple’s Phil Schiller responded: “moving iMessage to Android will hurt us more than help us, this email illustrates why.”
Meanwhile, Craig Federighi, senior VP of Software Engineering, is quoted in the filing as saying, “iMessage on Android would simply serve to remove [an] obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones.”
The filing also claims that as early as 2013, senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue made the decision not to develop a version of iMessage for Android, even though such a version was, in theory, possible.
As well as iMessage, Epic’s filing cites FaceTime as another example of an Apple lock-in service. Apple’s Tim Cook, Craig Federighi, and Phil Schiller, along with Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, are all expected to take to the stand next month when the trial begins. It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out.