A tale of iMessage on Android and of Apple opening source
Remember when iMessage might’ve been hot for Android this year? We did, too. And we didn’t forget about it. Apple might have decided against the idea of exporting what some might consider to be its most valuable user magnet because it would have driven customers away from valuable hardware buys when the company’s still at a tender stage to be making a hard transition to mobile service revenues as a balance sheet driver.
To wit, Apple is still a hardware company. It always has and, for the foreseeable future, it will continue to be.
But word is from Apple blogger John Gruber and his Daring Fireball blog that, at some point, designers inside One Infinite Loop tossed around mock-up designs for iMessage on Android. All of this signals that a translation was a real idea at some point. But, as evident by the lack of a launch announcement, just not now. Maybe not ever.
Apple has done a great job of driving up service revenue with new initiatives such as Apple Music and revised App Store policies. But it has done a bad job of making its consumer software pliable to as many interested parties as it possibly could.
Gruber also describes a point (often brought up by his readers) during WWDC 2010 when Steve Jobs announced out of the blue that FaceTime would be open for development when his designers and engineers worked under the mandate that it would be closed-source. Any hope of making it open would take years and was ultimately crushed by a patent lawsuit that forced Apple to further lock up FaceTime.
Whether Jobs’s desire to widen the appeal of Apple’s wares outweighs the company culture of wresting control and a series of unfortunate events for a test balloon project has yet to be determined — Infinite Loop is reportedly trying again outside of mobile with a salable autonomous car operating system in place of an autonomous car.