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Beeper's CEO wants to sue Apple for blocking its iMessage bridge hack

Beeper Mini

Eric Migicovsky insists his Beeper Mini will continue despite Apple's best efforts to prevent it bringing iMessage blue speech bubbles to Android.

Beeper Mini is, or is continually trying to be, a way to get iMessage without buying an iPhone — although users might have to get access to a Mac. Since the start of December 2023, Beeper has launched a service to do this, then Apple blocked it, then Beeper tried another way.

According to The Information, this cycle is going to continue, too, as Beeper CEO Eric Migicovsky maintains that his company will persist — and could take legal action, too.

"We're investigating legal ramifications for Apple, definitely," said Migicovsky. "Around antitrust, around competition, around how they've made the experience worse for iPhone users with this change."

"They've degraded the performance of iMessage for iPhone users," he continued, "all in search of crushing a competitor."

"These techniques posed a significant risk to user security and privacy," responded Apple. "We took steps to protect our users by blocking techniques that exploit fake credentials in order to gain access to iMessage."

When an Android user signs up to Beeper Mini, the Beeper company registers them with iMessage through a Mac. Initially, that Mac would be one of many owned by Beeper itself, but Apple was able to block that.

So at present, Beeper Mini users need access to a Mac of their own, or a friend's. Via the Mac, they register with iMessage as if they were using an Apple device.

Migicovsky denies that this is in any way a security issue and derides Apple's stance on it.

"I think of [Apple's response] '1984' doublespeak," he said. "Beeper Mini makes iPhone customers' communication more secure."

Beeper is not going away

The Beeper CEO says that "our long-term vision is not to build an iMessage client for Android," but rather to provide one app that supports many messaging services.

At present, though, he argues that Apple is unfairly locking people out of its services.

"Apple has monopoly powers [as] the largest phone maker in the US," he said. "More than 50% of the US uses an iPhone [and] iMessage is the default... on that device."

There does appear to be demand for iMessage from Android users. Migicovsky says that "within 48 hours [of launch] we went from zero in revenue to $1 million in annualized run rate."

"Our conversion from download to paid trial hovered around 50%," he continued. "Normally, consumer apps are 5%, 10% at the most."

Android users are not prevented from messaging iPhone owners. While choosing not to use iPhones and iMessage, their messages appear in a green bubble instead of a blue one.

There is also the issue that in a group conversation, Android users won't get the same quality images as iPhone owners.

However, Apple has now committed to supporting the RCS messaging protocol which will allow for more rich data being sent between iPhones and Android, without an intermediate service like Beeper.