Tim Cook's response to improving Android texting compatibility: 'buy your mom an iPhone'

The company appears to have no plans to fix 'green bubbles' anytime soon.

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Steve Dent
September 8, 2022 5:55 AM
Apple CEO Tim Cook holds the new iPhone 14 at an Apple event at their headquarters in Cupertino, California, U.S. September 7, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Carlos Barria / reuters

At the 2022 Code Conference, Tim Cook responded to a journalist's question about RCS text messaging by suggesting they buy an iPhone, The Verge reports. Asked how Apple could improve communication between iPhone and Android users, he said "I don't hear our users asking that we put a lot of energy into that." When the journalist replied that he couldn't send certain videos to his Android-using mother, Cook joked "buy your mom an iPhone." 

That's bound to add fuel to the debate about a common smartphone messaging format. Google has long promoted the RCS (Rich Communications Service) as a way to allow for better interoperability between iOS and Android users, even shaming Apple about it last month. Doing so could help eliminate the dreaded "green bubble" seen by iPhone users when they receive a text message from an Android phone.

Apple considered offering iMessage to Android users but quickly shut the idea down, as internal documents revealed during the Epic trial. Former marketing chief Phil Schiller famously said that porting iMessage to Android "would hurt us more than help us," and another former Apple exec said in an email that "iMessage amounts to serious lock-in." 

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Cook did say that Apple isn't addressing RCS "at this point," appearing to not entirely rule the idea out. In any case, the green bubble issue is largely US-centric, as users in other countries tend to favor non-SMS apps like Telegram, WhatsApp and Signal. 

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Tim Cook's response to improving Android texting compatibility: 'buy your mom an iPhone'