Right, and this is a very US-centric problem, because in other places those third-party messaging apps are more dominant.
Yes. So iMessage is integrated in the iPhone operating system in a very deep way. But that’s not “premium.” That’s anticompetitive.
You wrote in a blog post late last month that every time there’s an outage to Beeper Mini your credibility takes a hit and that you can’t keep playing the cat-and-mouse game with Apple to keep it working. But you also said you’re still determined to build the best chat app on earth. What does it look like?
Well, Beeper Mini was called that for a reason. It was a secondary app with a more limited feature set than our primary app, Beeper. Beeper supports 15 chat networks. Beeper Mini supported one. So we decided to refocus our energy back to our primary app.
So, theoretically, Beeper could become a really great chat app that competes with Signal or WhatsApp, where both parties—iPhone users and Android users—download your app and go to that app container and message, right? But Beeper Mini was trying to actually bring interoperability to two different systems. How committed are you still to that vision?
That’s an important point. We’re in 2024, and you have a portion of your contact list on each of these different apps because entrenched players have gone out of their way to make it very hard for you to leave their platforms.
It would be practically impossible to start a brand-new instant message app today because the entrenched players have such a strong hold on being the default app on an iPhone or having a wide set of users. So the way that you build a “new” chat app is you interoperate with the existing networks. And you make the transition as clean and easy as possible. That’s what we’re working on.
Part of our vision is to embrace an open source protocol that already exists, Matrix, and so when you use Beeper, you’ll get an account on this open source protocol. You can still message your friends using all your other apps, but if you want, you can send them a message from that open source protocol as well. Right now that’s not the primary focus for us, but it will be over time as more and more people join this network.
Well, thanks for taking the time to chat, no pun intended.
You know, you asked, “Were we expecting this response?” No. The truth is, we built this app and we’re extremely happy with how it came out, because people were like, “Wow, this is a great experience compared to the kind of crappy green bubble chats we’d been having before.” It all happened pretty quickly after that.