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9 Dec, 2023
1 min time to read

Beeper, the startup that made a lot of noise by reverse-engineering iMessage to bring the coveted blue bubble texts to Android users, is facing an outage, and it seems Apple is at the center of the disruption.

Users, including TechCrunch staff, reported error messages when attempting to send texts via Beeper Mini, the service that made iMessage accessible on Android devices.

The error message, displayed in red letters, reads: "failed to lookup on server: lookup request timed out." Beeper CEO Eric Migicovsky confirmed to TechCrunch that all indicators point to Apple cutting off Beeper Mini's functionality, leaving the startup in a state of uncertainty about the future of its service.

Migicovsky, who founded the smartwatch Pebble, emphasized that Beeper Mini wasn't solely beneficial for Android users seeking to join iMessage group chats but also increased security for iPhone users. In a prior interview, he highlighted the unencrypted nature of green bubble texts, making Beeper Mini's encrypted chats a potential security enhancement for iPhone users.

Apple's move to restrict access to Beeper Mini aligns with the company's strategy of keeping iMessage exclusive to its ecosystem. The lack of an iMessage app for Android is a deliberate effort to retain users within the Apple ecosystem.

Despite the hope that EU regulations might force Apple to make iMessage more compatible, recent news suggests that iMessage may be exempt from such rules due to its lack of popularity among business users.

Beeper Mini allowed Android users to text iMessage users for $1.99 a month, creating blue bubbles instead of green bubbles in group chats. The startup's future remains uncertain as it tries to deal with the fallout from Apple's interference.