Tim Cook’s solution to improve Android messaging compatibility: “Buy your mother an iPhone.”

Tim Cook responded to a journalist’s question regarding RCS text messaging at the 2022 Code Conference by suggesting they buy an iPhone, according to The Verge. When asked how Apple could enhance communication between iPhone and Android users, he responded, “I don’t hear our people asking us to invest a lot of attention into that.” When the journalist said he couldn’t email some movies to his Android-using mother, Cook joked, “Buy your mother an iPhone.”
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
This is sure to stoke the argument over a standard smartphone texting format. Google has long pushed the RCS (Rich Communications Service) as a solution to improve compatibility between iOS and Android users, even shamelessly promoting it.

This could help to eliminate the dreaded “green bubble” that iPhone users experience when receiving a text message from an Android phone.

According to internal documents obtained during the Epic lawsuit, Apple investigated introducing iMessage to Android users but swiftly abandoned the idea. Former Apple marketing boss Phil Schiller famously stated that bringing iMessage to Android would “harm us more than assist us,” while another former Apple executive stated in an email that “iMessage amounts to real lock-in.”

Cook did indicate that Apple isn’t addressing RCS “at this time,” but he didn’t completely dismiss the idea. In any case, the green bubble problem is primarily limited to the United States, as consumers in other nations choose non-SMS apps such as Telegram, WhatsApp, and Signal.