November 30, 2023

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Samsung sides with Google on Apple adopting RCS – Samsung

Samsung sides with Google on Apple adopting RCS – Samsung

Samsung has released a video supporting Google’s #GetTheMessage campaign for Apple’s adoption of RCS, the cross-platform messaging protocol that is essentially the successor to SMS.

RCS integrates modern messaging features found in apps like iMessage, WhatsApp, and more.

The video, titled “Green Bubbles and Blue Bubbles Want to Be Together,” shows a Romeo and Juliet-style conversation between two users separated by a disapproving “parent.” Someone asks: “What made it green? We’re bubbles too.”

This refers to Apple’s messaging interface that displays feature-rich blue bubbles for iMessage conversations between iPhone users. When Android users join, messages revert to the basic green SMS bubbles with reduced functionality. This two-tier system frustrates many in countries where iPhones and Android devices have about 50% market share.

Apple has incentives to maintain this lock-in effect within its ecosystem. But it may have to “open” iMessage under EU digital market law if it is deemed an “essential platform service”. Regulators are currently investigating whether this definition applies, which would require Apple to allow interoperability.

Samsung’s video aims to highlight the gap between blue and green bubbles, presenting them as an unfair barrier separating people who just want to connect. It capitalizes on dissatisfaction with the limitations of SMS and pushes Apple to adopt RCS for a unified messaging experience.

Google, Samsung, and other companies promoting RCS want messaging parity across operating systems. With iPhone and Android adoption split almost evenly across major markets, many believe it’s unacceptable for basic messaging to deteriorate due to the device ecosystem.

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Apple insists that iMessage is secure and feature-rich, “with no incentive to adopt a lower standard.” But if regulatory scrutiny determines that Apple must support the RCS standard as it did with the adoption of the USB-C port on the iPhone, it risks losing the advantage that attracts users to its ecosystem.

For now, Samsung’s “light” video is only meant to highlight the gap between the blue and green bubble for consumers, but not as forcefully as Google has chosen to do in the past.

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