Just for the record, and as part of full disclosure, this is not my dumb idea. I borrowed it from a popular technology website so you could see dumb ideas can be developed and promoted anywhere. First, let me compare it to a good idea.
iTunes and iPod for Windows. Way back around the turn of the century, Apple launched the iPod and iTunes combo. Mac only. Then along came the iTunes Music Store, Mac only, and not long after that hell froze over and Steve Jobs launched iTunes for Windows so Windows PC users could become iPod customers. The rest is history.
Good idea, right?
There is a growing chorus from technology media writers for Apple to put the much loved Messages app on Android and Windows. I can see the advantage for Android smartphone users and Windows users, but what’s in it for Apple?
Apple is risking alienating users because it wants to punish those who dare to work outside the Apple ecosystem, and making them look elsewhere for a platform that doesn’t have artificial boundaries.
So, who exactly is being alienated? Apple’s customers and Messages users? I don’t think so. Android smartphone owners and Windows users? Who gives a rat’s titty? Text messages of the SMS variety flow back and forth between devices– even Windows Phone– with nothing so little as a hiccup, so communicating from one platform to another is not a problem.
The difference is obvious. Messages is fun for iPhone, Mac, and iPad users who communicate to one another. It’s blue bubbles vs. green bubbles. Apple turned Messages into a colorful, playful communication platform that doesn’t have much equal on Android or Windows. And Messages still manages to send and retrieve standard text messages.
What’s not to like?
Keeping iMessage locked to iOS and macOS is akin to Apple’s initial decision to make the iPod only compatible with Macs (fun fact, the iPod only became a big hit when Apple opened it up to Windows users).
No, that’s not a good comparison because hardware is involved. The iPod was hardware. The iTunes Music Store and iPod were useful and beneficial options for Windows PC users, and definitely beneficial for Apple. The company sold hundreds of millions of iPods to Windows owners.
What would Apple get by putting Messages on Android and Windows?
With such a move Apple gains nothing; probably not even a thank you from Android or Windows users. Hey, Messages is just software. How long before someone else figures out a way to do the same thing across all platforms? Then what has Apple gained by putting Messages on non-Apple platforms?
Apple is not only missing on a chance to cement the dominance of iMessage over the competition, but also making life needlessly difficult for iPhone, iPad, and Mac users that also have to use Windows and Android.
Cry me a river.
Come up with some stats that indicate how many Mac users also have to bang around on Windows and Android, and we’ll see if there’s a market for Apple to create software where it obviously does not belong. Android is divided into two major groups. A tiny sliver of very noisy technocrats and technorati elite who bounce around on everything (but obviously prefer Macs, iPhones, and iPads and Apple software), and the great unwashed masses who don’t care because it’s just a phone and camera that does text. And based upon Windows PC sales the past few years, it looks as if Windows customers cannot abandon the platform fast enough.
Putting Messages on Android OS or Windows 10 is not a good idea because, 1) it removes an incentive for those users to switch to an iPhone, and, 2) Apple doesn’t make any money with such a change, and, 3) Apple is a hardware company.