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Apple’s iMessage Will Not Kill Anything

By on June 8th, 2011 
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As you are probably aware by now, Apple has added a new feature in iOS 5 called iMessage. (In case you did not know, read this.) As with anything that Apple releases, many are already proclaiming it as a revolutionary new product. Many have even gone to the extent of declaring it a BlackBerry Messenger killer and *gasp* SMS killer. I know that anything that Apple releases is followed by so much enthusiasm from its users - and they have every right to be enthusiastic about it. But some of them take it to an altogether another level (remember the BBC documentary?), that they become blind to everything else and instantly declares that it is the best thing ever.

iMessage killing off the BlackBerry Messenger? And even SMS? You have to be kidding me, right? Right?

(If you do not have the time to read the whole post or simply does not want to read a lot, scroll down towards the end.)

First of all let us address the BlackBerry Messenger issue. It is no secret that BlackBerry as a platform is in trouble. But it still accounts for around 25% of the smart phone market share. Their market share is decreasing but, yes, one in four smartphones is still a BlackBerry - quite a huge number and a huge number of people who are using BlackBerry Messenger. Will iMessenger make all these BlackBerry Messenger users leave it and use iMessenger instead? No it will not; simply because iMessenger will not be available on the BlackBerry. iMessenger is an Apple device only service - precisely the reason why it is not going to kill anything.

Let us think for a minute here - iMessage means both you and your contacts require an Apple device - an iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad. How many BlackBerry users are ready to drop their BlackBerry and go get an Apple device only because their favorite messaging client has been copied by Apple? And do not forget that if you do get an Apple device, you will not be able to send messages to your previous contacts in BlackBerry Messenger unless they too get an Apple device. So much for being a BBM killer. BlackBerry as a platform will continue to suffer - but only because Android and iOS are better than it,  not because its char client has been copied by Apple.

As for the case iMessage killing SMS, I do not even know how anyone can think something like that. To even think that it can even replace something as universally accessible as SMS is either very trolling or being very stupid. Does each and every one of the people you know use iPhones and iPads? Does each and every one that everyone know use only iPhones and iPads?

Apple currently has 200 million iOS users - but that is only 26% of the total smartphone market share. Out of every four smartphone users you see, you will not be able to use iMessage with three of them. And do not forget that not everyone is a smart-phones user. If you take feature phones into consideration, Apple's market share drops to around 5%. Even if you count only the US market share, feature phones make for more than 70% of the total devices. That settles it.

Google Talk is a similar service - but a thousand times bigger. It supports a lot of functions like voice chat, transferring files, group chatting etc. It uses an open protocol and is available to every GMail user and on a number of platforms from Windows and Linux to Android. Yet, it has not even come close to killing anything other than maybe Yahoo! Messenger and some other chat services. iMessage might be a very good product from Apple - but that does not mean that it will kill every other messaging platforms out there. Apple does not have any intention to do that, hence the reason why the service is not cross-platform.

TL;DR -

  • iMessage is not enough reason to to make BlackBerry users throw away their devices for  new iPhones or iPads.
  • iMessage is a closed communication channel and will not replace something as universal as SMS.

[Source of data: 1, 2, 3]

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Apple’s iMessage Will Not Kill Anything was originally published on Digitizor.com on June 8, 2011 - 11:51 am (Indian Standard Time)