Android and Windows users will now be able to join FaceTime when invited by an Apple user. This is Apple’s most surprising and impressive announcement at its Global Developer Conference.
Since its existence, Apple has granted its users 100% app exclusivity, which is why this move comes as a slight shock. According to industry experts, the move takes into account the competitive advantages that come with making its software available to non-Apple customers.
Speaking on diversity, DA Davidson senior research analyst Tom Forte said: “Apple seems more willing than it has been in the past to open some of its services outside of its [hardware] the ecosystem as a way to drive adoption, and also as a way to compete more effectively with other large-scale tech players such as Facebook and Google.
Beyond that, the move could be designed to help address Apple’s antitrust issues. “It puts them in a better light from a regulatory perspective,” said Angelo Zino, senior equity analyst at CFRA Research. “The more inclined they are to open up the ecosystem to other external parties, the better they look.”
There is, however, speculation that Apple might not grant full use of the feature to Android and Windows users due to the peculiarity of iMessage where, unlike traditional messaging apps (Android), users can react to text messages and see when friends are typing. Not to mention the end-to-end encryption which guarantees the utmost confidentiality.
Analysts have indicated that Android users should not be completely welcoming to the non-Apple version of iMessage due to the influence the app controls to get more people to buy Apple products, by maintaining that ‘it can be intrusive.
“Apple takes a very pragmatic view of applications as it extends beyond Apple devices,” said Geoff Blaber, CEO of CCS Insight. “FaceTime faces greater competitive pressure from video conferencing competitors and is more useful if it is available on all platforms. This is not the case for iMessage, which is an integral part of the Apple experience and the “continuity” between iPhone, iPad and Mac.
With Apple’s decision to bite further into open source software market share with iMessage, much remains to be seen on the impact of this move. Nonetheless, WhatsApp remains at the top of the food chain due to its versatility with devices, making it a default choice for users.