Google Exec Pushing RCS Adoption Says He's 'Not Asking Apple to Make iMessage Available on Android'
Google for the last several years has been pushing a new communications protocol called Rich Communication Services, or RCS, which is designed to replace the current SMS standard. RCS offers support for higher resolution photos and videos, audio messages, bigger file size, improved encryption, and more.
For the last few months, Google's senior vice president of Android, Hiroshi Lockheimer, has been publicly trying to persuade Apple to adopt support for RCS, and over the weekend, he once again took to Twitter to speak out on Apple's lack of RCS support for iMessages.
On Saturday, The Wall Street Journal published an article about teens with iPhones ostracizing peers who have Android phones with "green bubble" chat messages. Lockheimer tweeted the story and accused Apple of using "peer pressure and bullying" to sell products, stating that Apple could implement RCS to solve some of the messaging issues that exist between iPhone and Android users.
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. https://t.co/MiQqMUOrgn — Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) January 8, 2022
Today, Lockheimer tweeted again to offer some clarification on the statement, which had sparked quite a bit of discussion on Twitter. According to Lockheimer, Google is "not asking Apple to make iMessage available on Android," the company simply wants Apple to "support the industry standard for modern messaging," aka RCS.
We’re 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. — Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) January 10, 2022
Lockheimer's Twitter thread offers a list of reasons why Apple should adopt RCS, such as cross-platform read receipts and typing indicators, secure 1:1 messages between Android and iPhone users, and improved group texting.
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. — Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) January 10, 2022
"Supporting RCS would improve the experience for both iOS and Android users alike," Lockheimer said. "That's right, RCS will also improve the experience and privacy for iOS users." By not adopting RCS, Apple is "holding back the industry" and preventing both iPhone and Android customers from having the best possible messaging interactions.
Lockheimer ended his Twitter thread by stating that Google is happy to "work with Apple" to make RCS interoperability a reality, which is something that he's said before.
Apple is the last major RCS holdout, as U.S. carriers that include Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile have already started adopting RCS support for Android devices. Apple has not commented either way on whether it plans to add RCS support in the future, so the company's position is still unknown.