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Microsoft says it would love to work with Apple to bring iMessage support to Win (9to5mac.com)
43 points by john58 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 50 comments

I'm sure Microsoft would also love to work with Nintendo to bring Mario and Zelda to Windows as well.

I am surprised Apple have not extended iMessage to a web interface that relies on the iPhone iMessage app to do all the work in the same way that WhatsApp Web works.

You don't lose E2EE, you keep the requirement of having an iPhone, etc.

Sure they have the macOS desktop iMessage app but a web interface would be great for iPhone owners who don't use macOS of which there are many.

They could easily wrap such a web service up in Electron just like WhatsApp does for their Windows Store desktop app.

I guess Apple relying on Electron isn't likely to happen but there is no reason they couldn't over-engineer it with their own embedded browser solution.

They already have the technology as it is used for iTunes on Windows (which, interestingly, is now available in the Windows Store via Desktop Bridge).

Apple using Electron is extremely unlikely. They’re more likely to port iMessage to Windows with the Windows port of the Objective-C runtime + Cocoa + Foundation (a sort of modernized YellowBox[1]) they used to port iTunes and previously Safari to Windows.

The browser used in the Windows version of iTunes is WebKit, not Chromium.

1: http://www.shawcomputing.net/resources/apple/os_pictures/ybn...

Security is one reason they stay away from web access.

If you read through Apple's security white papers it's pretty clear that iMessage security would be gravely impacted by the attack surface that comes with web access.

It will never happen, iMessage is one of the network effects of Apple/iPhone ecosystem.

I wouldn’t so sure. Microsoft owns enterprise, Apple owns enterprise mobility.

Microsoft needs a partner on mobile, Apple needs a partner for AI and services.

This would still encourage people to buy iPhones though, it's just a bridge between Your Phone (the app on Windows in question) and your iPhone so you can reply to (i)Messages on windows as you do a Mac.

Don't really see why they would be vehemently against this.

That's one more reason to buy a Mac, and when people buy a new machine they usually factor in several reasons.

Apple makes a lot more money from Macs than iPhones.

And along with Continuity is a key pillar of the "Apple products work better together" marketing message.


Apple makes way more money from iPhones than Macs.

Not by a long shot they don't. In Q1 2018, Apple made nine times more money from iPhones than it did from Macs [1].

[1]: https://www.apple.com/newsroom/pdfs/Q1_FY18_Data_Summary.pdf

Couldn’t you say the same about Microsoft Office? And yet it’s on Apple computers.

There's no way I would buy a mac for iMessage, but I would be inclined to use iMessage on my windows PC. This seems like a net positive for Apple

so dumb though. though could own messaging, which would be way more valuable than whatever tiny bump it's giving to the iphone.

Apple doesn't commercialise most of their services and none of them through ads. iMessage is another subsidized feature of an Apple device.

What use is it to own messaging if they don't make money from it? Apple got out of the advertising business years ago.

incredibly short-sighted perspective. it gives them huge leverage.

They already have leverage - the leverage of iMessage to keep people from leaving their iPhones (which, as has been mentioned, is where Apple makes a huge amount of money).

What other kind of leverage are you talking about?

if apple is in a position where the only thing keeping people using iphones is imessage lock-in, they're already fucked. fortunately (for them) i don't think this is the case; the iphone is still a very desirable platform in its own right.

and having imessage on other platforms can work the other way: if people use it and like it, they can be more likely to switch altogether. (in a similar way, i think the ipod brought many people to the mac.)

in terms of leverage:

if you have the dominant messaging platform, you've

(1) defensively kept someone else from having the dominant platform, and using it however they wish (if e.g. google ever got its head out of its ass with messaging and made something good, that might become dominant and draw more people towards android)

(2) you've got a frickin' platform! you can start selling apps into the messenger and make $ that way. while apple has still been shy about ads (and every1 in general has been shy about ads in messengers), they have dipped their toe in the water with ads in the app store. you could certainly imagine ads in imessage. you could use that base of connections as a good starting point to grow a social network.

and who knows what else.

a sort of analoguous situation was facebook buying whatsapp for $3 billion. why did they do that? as near as i can tell, they are not making any money on it. i assume it was a defensive aquisition: something as popular and ubiquituous as whatsapp (outside the US; in the US more modest adoption) is a great starting point to make something that will take over facebook. or simply make fb less relevent, since a large part of its utility is as universal messenger.

apple could have something similar to whatsapp just for the cost of developing an imessage client for android.

A messaging platform is not enough to get people to switch platforms. At the end of the day, the only reasons that imessage is successful is because it's bundled with iPhones and it piggybacks off of SMS. Facebook Messenger is only popular because it is the easiet way to contact people who you are already connected with.

People who buy Android aren't for the most part potential Apple's market. There are relatively few high end Android phones being sold the average selling price of Android phones is $100 less than the cheapest iPhone.

WhatsApp is popular because it's free, it's valuable because of its potential for ad revenue. One of the reasons that WhatsApp gained popularity outside of the US was because it was an alternative to text messages that cost money.

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What leverage would that be?

Why do people buy premium cable and content? To skip the Ads

If you go into any execs office starting a presentation with - “I’ve got this great idea for a Windows application!” you will probably be kicked out. If not then, definitely when you tell them it’s for a messaging app that you want to charge money for.

Yeah I see no reason why Apple would want to do that. Which is probably why Microsoft said they would like to do it.

Personally I find WhatsApp having a better UX than iMessage. now the worry is about data being siphoned by Zucker zucker. I can hardly search for an old text on iMessage on mac or iPhone. have stopped using it entirely.

What are you talking about? It has search built in - I can and do regularly search for stuff from years ago.

However much I'd like this to happen, it'll never ever happen.

Do yourself a favor and skip the comment section or you'll see where the "technologically illiterate yet happy to pontificate apple fanboy" stereotype comes.

except this is more about politics than technology

When I made this comment the top comments on the article were about how opening up the iMessage protocol would cause it to become riddled with security vulnerabilities.

I know it won't ever happen, but releasing it would really help reframe Apple's increasingly more obvious unfair shake it gives its customers.

Never happen.

Didn't stop them from bringing itunes or icloud. I've just found it weird apple hasn't had a web version at least.

How could you do a web version of iMessages without losing end-to-end encryption?


No way Apple is going to rely on outside technology stack for something which could damage its entire secure branding.

Very different world today. Back then windows was a lot more important

iTunes and iCloud were required for iPhones to work with Windows.

Otherwise you couldn't sync music or contacts etc. Having a Windows iMessages app isn't required for anything.

Well, Apple has a port of all of OS X above the Unix layer to NT lying around somewhere. iMessage should be a relative doddle to bring to Windows.

Are you referring to Yellow Box and Rhapsody?


I'm referring to the updated version of this Apple is sure to have lying around. Apple has deployed apps (Safari, iTunes?) based on a Win32 Cocoa port before. You'd be crazy to think they don't keep Cocoa/Nextstep for Win32 kicking around, even if they never release it.

This isn't a big deal really. However Microsoft wants the real secret sauce. They either want A: Apple to build a client in Windows with C#. Or possibly B: wants to able to allow swift compilation on Windows thus opening the door wide open for app ecosystem. You think probably not but then again WSL.

Microsoft has literally tens of thousands of engineers capable of building the client for Windows if Apple will let them. I am certain that no one on this integration project cares whether Apple actually does the work, only whether they allow it.

Disclosure: Microsoft employee, but nowhere near this group.

> Microsoft has literally tens of thousands of engineers capable of building the client for Windows if Apple will let them.

One word: Skype.

That's essentially what I'm saying. There is a longer game at play. I only state they probably want Apple to do it because they helped Apple port iTunes to the Windows Store. It's not a play for iMessage but a longer play.

I’m not sure what the longer play is or how it ties into Apple building in C# or Swift on Windows, neither of which are a prerequisite to iMessage on Windows.

Well, if Apple builds an app in C# then they would probably want to use their OS to do so. In order to do that they would need Visual Studio for Mac which would allow them to work with Apple to improve those tools and open doors for developing C# applications on MacOS as well as compiling those Applications for MacOS. If Apple were to write a client in Swift or ObjC then it would do the reverse and potentially open up applications to be compiled for and run on Windows. This allowing easier porting of apps from MacOS to Windows and helping eliminate their "lack of apps in the Windows store" problem. Cross functionality is Microsoft's current game. How many different ways they can achieve it is up to your imagination.

There’s pretty much zero chance that any of those build scenarios would happen. This is a hypothetical app for Windows, so it would be built on Windows, and it would use Windows tooling. No Swift, no Objective-C, no macOS. There is no reason that Apple would drag their entire ecosystem along to build this app, if they even built it themselves.

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