The long ongoing legal battle between Epic Games and Apple has wreaked enough havoc for the latter and Google. Both the companies had to cut down their marketplace fees for developers on the App Store and Playstore.
And now, a new court filing by Epic Games has once again opened up a can of worms for Apple and their long-standing practice of exclusivity.
It is no secret that the iPhone maker has many proprietary products and services in the Apple ecosystem so that its users can’t simply jump to other competing platforms such as Android. However, only a few among them have become as successful as iMessage.
To prepare for the trial beginning May 3rd, Epic Games recently filed a brief which contains several excerpts that show Apple’s executive team made an intentional decision to limit iMessage within their own ecosystem of platforms and devices.
Here are some highlights from the brief prepared by Epic Games:
- Back in 2013, Apple decided it won’t be developing a version of iMessage for the Android OS.
- Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet Software and Services, acknowledged that the iPhone maker was very well capable of building an iMessage version for Android, which would have cross-compatibility with the iOS platform.
- However, Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering and the executive in charge of the iOS, said that an Android version of iMessage would simply act as an option to remove the obstacle of iPhone families giving their children Android smartphones.
- Phil Schiller, Apple executive in charge of the App Store, agreed that the company should not offer iMessage on Android devices.
- And back in 2016, a former Apple employee commented that the most challenging part of leaving the Apple universe is iMessage, which amount to a ‘serious lock in’ to its product ecosystem.
Currently, Epic Games’ primary aim to go after iMessage related exclusivity is to paint a picture wherein people can see Apple is a monopoly-driven company that uses platform lock-in to deliberately keep its users reliant on the App Store and the in-app payments system that comes with it.
All in all, while Apple has never publicly commented on whether it has plans to whip out an iMessage version for Android, with these statements in the open, it is well understood that why the company has maintained radio silence on the subject.
This debacle will surely bring a lot of bad press for Apple. It may even give Epic Games a winning edge in the legal battle against the California, Cupertino-based iPhone maker, but as the practise isn’t yet deemed illegal, it is quite likely the matter won’t draw attention from regulators.
We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.