In a surprising turn of events, Beeper, the startup that aimed to bridge the gap between Android and iPhone users by bringing iMessage functionality to Android devices, is currently facing a significant outage. The cause, according to Beeper CEO Eric Migicovsky, points directly at tech giant Apple.
Users, including those at TechCrunch with access to the Beeper Mini app, began experiencing issues when attempting to send texts. Error messages with the text “failed to lookup on server: lookup request timed out” in red letters have left Android users without the coveted blue bubble texts that indicate iMessage functionality.
While a member of the Beeper team initially urged users to report problems through the app, CEO Eric Migicovsky confirmed to TechCrunch that all indications point towards Apple being responsible for the disruption. When asked if Apple found a way to disable Beeper Mini’s functionality, Migicovsky replied with a definitive “Yes.”
Migicovsky, known for founding the smartwatch Pebble, emphasized that Beeper Mini not only benefits Android users but also enhances security for iPhone users. He argued that traditional green bubble texts on Android devices are unencrypted, making messages susceptible to interception by various entities, including Apple. Beeper Mini’s encrypted chats, however, aimed to provide a more secure communication channel for iPhone users.
Apple’s reluctance to create an iMessage app for Android stems from its view of iMessage as a key tool for retaining users within the Apple ecosystem. Migicovsky questioned why Apple would seek to hinder a service that purportedly improves the security of iPhone users.
As the outage continues, the future of Beeper Mini hangs in the balance. Migicovsky expressed discontent with the situation, stating, “I would be very interested to hear why they think that making security worse for iPhone users makes sense.”
Beeper, founded in 2020, originally focused on developing a multi-platform messaging aggregator, which has now been renamed Beeper Cloud. As Beeper Mini aimed to provide Android users with the ability to send iMessage-like texts to iPhone users, the disruption raises questions about the future of this innovative service.
Migicovsky concluded by stating that Beeper will evaluate its options moving forward. It remains to be seen whether Beeper’s engineers can address the reported issue and if Beeper Mini will continue to fulfill its promise of enabling encrypted chats between Android and iPhone users.