I find this very surprising. Emojis are a completely underrated platform moat, in my opinion.
Android and iOS have become more and more similar and there are hardly any switching costs left for consumers:
- Both operating systems offer pretty much the same features
- You have high-end devices for both platforms (most importantly equal camera quality)
- All major apps are available for both iOS and Android
- Switching from iOS to Android literally doesn’t take more than a few minutes
This leaves Apple with only handful advantages over Android:
- New apps are usually released on iOS first (temporary exclusivity)
- Apps which are only available on iOS, most importantly iMessage
- And: Emojis
Android has several emoji-problems:
- Some emojis look vastly different than their iOS counterpart leading to miscommunication
- Due to Android’s openness some OEMs use custom emoji sets
- The emoji redesign that comes with Oreo looks horrible
- Fragmentation means that lots of emojis aren’t available at all
I don’t have data to back this up, but I’m pretty sure there are psychological switching costs because you feel partly excluded from the conversations you are having with your iOS-friends (especially in group chats).
So Apple should embrace the use of its emoji set as much as possible, but prohibit developers from using them in their Android apps (which I assume has happened in the case of WhatsApp and Slack).
It’d be great if someone would come up with an open-source set of great looking emoji that become the standard across all platforms.