Apple’s ‘green bubble’ Android texts fuel ‘social stigma,’ DOJ claims in landmark suit

Posted 21 days ago


The Justice Department called out Apple for afflicting Android smartphone users with the dreaded “green bubble” in text messages — calling it a mark of “social stigma, exclusion and blame” as part of its landmark antitrust case against the iPhone maker.

“Green bubble” status has long been a source of mockery online, with some women even jokingly declaring that they find men who own Androids less attractive.

In the past, Apple rivals like Google have demanded that the company “fix” texting.

“Many non-iPhone users also experience social stigma, exclusion, and blame for ‘breaking’ chats where other participants own iPhones,” the lawsuit claimed, adding that the effect is “particularly powerful for certain demographics, like teenagers.”

The notorious issue was heavily featured in the antitrust complaint filed by the DOJ and 16 state attorneys general in New Jersey federal court.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said Apple undermines rivals by having texts from Androids to iPhones suffer from “limited functionality.”

Android users can’t see typing indicators, experience poor video quality and have non-encrypted messages when texting with iPhone users.

Additionally, Apple has stifled rival apps that could have fixed the problem, the DOJ alleged.

The lawsuit highlighted one notable exchange from Vox Media’s Code Conference in 2022, when an attendee asked Tim Cook to fix Android-to-iPhone texting because they couldn’t “send my mom certain videos.”... (Read more)