Tim Cook Dismisses Google Pressure To Adopt RCS

Apple chief executive Tim Cook at WWDC 2020. Image credit: Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook suggests ‘buy your mom an iPhone,’ in response to question about no RCS support or integration in iMessage

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook had a blunt response this week to ongoing pressure from Google for it to adopt the cross platform RCS messaging protocol in its iMessage service.

Google it should be remembered last month sought to shame Apple over its refusal to adopt RCS for iMessage, creating the a new “Get The Message” website touting the message that “it’s time for Apple to fix texting.”

The Google website lays out a set of arguments for why Apple should support the standard, revolving around smoother messaging between iPhone and Android devices.

And there is also a #GetTheMessage hashtag to attempt to shame Apple in the social networking space.

RCS adoption

Apple however continues to use its own protocol in its iMessage app, which locks people into the Apple ecosystem, and of course works seamlessly well between two iPhones using the iMessage service.

Google in contrast began deploying the Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard in its Chat app back in 2019, after first unveiling the rival to Apple’s iMessage service back in 2018.

RCS was intended as a replacement for the humble SMS and MMS messaging protocols, but its adoption had been hampered for a number of years by the refusal of some carriers and mobile operators to support it.

But Google’s championing of RCS has transformed its adoption.

Unlike SMS and MMS, Google Chat with RCS allows for read receipts, as well as the sharing of higher quality attachments (photos etc), and users are also able to see when their contacts are typing.

The bubble colour in iMessage distinguishes Android (green) users from fellow iPhone users (blue).

Samsung this year switched to using Google’s own RCS-compatible Messages app by default in its flagship Galaxy S22 range.

Not asking for it

Apple CEO Tim Cook this week, speaking at Vox Media’s Code 2022 event on Wednesday, dismissed the idea of adopting RCS messaging to put an end to the green bubbles that surround messages when iPhone users text someone on an Android device, the Verge reported.

When he was asked about RCS support in iMessage, Cook said Apple users aren’t asking for it.

“I don’t hear our users asking that we put a lot of energy in on that at this point,” Cook said when asked how Apple founder Steve Jobs would feel about using the RCS standard in iMessage.

Instead, Cook said, “I would love to convert you to an iPhone.”

But the Verge reported that the person who asked the question, Vox Media’s LiQuan Hunt, came back with a valid complaint, saying that his mother can’t see the videos he sends her.

This is down to a lack of interoperability between iMessage and RCS, both messaging systems that could allow higher-quality images and videos – if they worked together.

If people try to send a video from an Android device to an iOS device (or vice versa) via the regular text messaging app, the video come out completely fuzzy on the other end.

Cook’s suggestion to fix this annoying issue? “Buy your mom an iPhone.”