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Tim Cook responds to Google’s anti-iMessage campaign: ‘Buy your mom an iPhone’

iOS 14 running on an iPhone

Hours after announcing the iPhone 14 on Wednesday, Tim Cook dashed any hope that Apple would bring support for RCS messaging to its devices.

At Vox Media’s Code Conference this week, someone in the audience asked Cook how Apple founder Steve Jobs would feel about introducing the RCS standard in iMessage. “I don’t hear our users asking that we put a lot of energy in on that at this point,” Cook responded before adding, “I would love to convert you to an iPhone.”

But the conversation didn’t end there. Vox Media’s LiQuan Hunt, who asked the question in the first place, followed up with a personal anecdote, according to The Verge.

Hunt explained that his mother couldn’t see the videos he was sending to her phone. This is due to the lack of interoperability between Google’s RCS messaging and Apple’s iMessage.

Cook didn’t mince words with his response: “Buy your mom an iPhone.”

Google wants Apple to bring RCS to iPhone

Google has been pushing Apple to adopt Rich Communication Services (RCS) for months on end, but it clearly hasn’t had much of an impact. Apple knows the blue bubbles in iMessage are keeping some iPhone owners from making the switch to Android. If Apple brought RCS to iPhone, it would eliminate one of the key roadblocks.

In fact, Apple’s senior VP of software engineering, Craig Federighi, said as much in an email that was unearthed during the Epic Games lawsuit over a year ago:

In the absence of a strategy to become the primary messaging service for [the] bulk of cell phone users, I am concerned [that] iMessage on Android would simply serve to remove an obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones.

So, for now, any group chats with a mix of iPhone and Android users will continue to suffer. Apple would rather everyone have a subpar experience than give Android device owners a single excuse not to switch. Meanwhile, Google Messages recently added support for iPhone emoji reactions (aka Tapback) to improve cross-platform texting.


More iPhone coverage: For more iPhone news, visit our iPhone 14 guide.

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.