Apple’s RCS Announcement Marks a Surprising U-Turn
Yesterday, Apple made a surprising announcement regarding its support for the rich communication services (RCS) messaging standard. This move comes as a big surprise, given that the company had previously indicated that it had no intentions of adopting RCS. However, the timing of this announcement seems to be no coincidence, as it represents a rare example of Apple getting ahead of potential antitrust legislation.
The history of text-based messaging began with SMS, but this service had several limitations, such as a maximum length of 160 characters, no media support, and lack of encryption. To address these limitations, the rich communication services (RCS) standard was developed in 2007. However, one major obstacle to the widespread adoption of RCS was Apple’s refusal to support the new standard. This meant that Android users could only communicate with iPhone users through SMS, hindering the replacement of SMS with RCS.
The announcement of Apple’s support for RCS seems to be tied to potential EU legislation requiring messaging app interoperability. The Digital Markets Act may have forced Apple to make this move, as it mandated the ability for users of different messaging apps to communicate with each other.
Apple’s decision to embrace RCS can be seen as a form of insurance against potential antitrust measures. While the standard does have limitations, such as the lack of end-to-end encryption, it offers most of the features expected of a modern messaging service. Apple’s move also comes at little cost, as very little will change for iPhone users, with RCS messages still being displayed as green bubbles.
Overall, Apple’s surprising shift in stance towards RCS could be seen as a strategic move to pre-empt potential legislative requirements while ensuring minimal impact on its user base.