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Google must be thrilled that the DOJ zeroed in on Apple's janky green text bubbles

A distorted green text bubble
iStock; Rebecca Zisser/BI
  • The DOJ is suing Apple, accusing the tech giant of anticompetitive and monopolistic practices.

  • The suit accuses Apple of making iPhone users' texting experience with Android users worse.

  • Google has railed against the green message bubbles for years.

Google could score a major win out of the Justice Department's sweeping antitrust lawsuit against Apple: getting rid of those janky green messages from Android users.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland explained in a news conference Thursday that when an iPhone user messaged a non-iPhone user, the non-iPhone user's texts showed up as green bubbles in Apple Messages. In addition to that, he said, the non-iPhone users' videos become pixelated and grainy, their messages are not encrypted, and they cannot edit messages or see typing bubbles.

"As a result, iPhone users perceive rival smartphones as being lower quality because the experience of messaging friends and family who do not own iPhones is worse, even though Apple is the one responsible for breaking cross-platform messaging," Garland said in the news conference. "And it does so intentionally."

In a statement, Apple told Business Insider it would "vigorously defend" against the lawsuit, which it said was "wrong on the facts and the law."

"At Apple, we innovate every day to make technology people love — designing products that work seamlessly together, protect people's privacy and security, and create a magical experience for our users," Apple said in the statement. "This lawsuit threatens who we are and the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets. If successful, it would hinder our ability to create the kind of technology people expect from Apple — where hardware, software, and services intersect. It would also set a dangerous precedent, empowering government to take a heavy hand in designing people's technology."

Google previously accused Apple of exploiting "peer pressure and bullying" for profit by singling out Android users with the green bubbles.

And last year, when developers launched an app that allowed Android users to send blue-bubble messages to iPhone users, Apple shut it down within a week.

Google asked European regulators in November to require Apple to make its messaging app compatible with third-party devices. And there's even a landing page set up by Android urging customers to tell Apple to get rid of the dreaded green bubbles.

The Justice Department's lawsuit accuses Apple of building a monopolistic ecosystem with anticompetitive practices that stifle users' ability to cross between platforms.

The lawsuit alleges Apple intentionally makes devices that run on competing operating systems such as Android look bad. And how messages are sent is one example, it says.

"Apple makes third-party messaging apps on the iPhone worse generally and relative to Apple Messages, Apple's own messaging app, by prohibiting third-party apps from sending or receiving carrier-based messages," the lawsuit says. "By doing so, Apple is knowingly and deliberately degrading quality, privacy, and security for its users and others who do not have iPhones."

The department's lawsuit wants Apple to stop what it says are its anticompetitive practices — meaning the green bubbles may be gone for good if the feds win in court.

That'd be a boon for Android users — and Google — because it would remove a stigma that the department says keeps iPhone customers locked in to Apple's ecosystem.

Read the original article on Business Insider