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Apple could bring iMessage to Android phones, report says

At its WWDC conference Monday, the iPhone maker could announce a move to bring its messaging software to millions of people using Google-powered phones.

Apple iMessage icon

iMessage offers an encrypted communication channel for Apple product users.

Apple

Apple's iMessage is available today only on Apple products like iPhones and Macs, but the company could bring its encrypted messaging service to phones powered by Google's Android software, according to a report Thursday.

The company plans to announce the move at its WWDC conference for developers, which begins next week, according to a report at MacDailyNews that cited an unnamed source familiar with Apple's plans. Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple's hardware and software are designed to work closely together, but every now and again the company builds versions of its software for rival products -- iTunes running on Microsoft Windows to let many more people buy its iPod music players, for example, or Apple Music for Android. Releasing iMessage for Android could make Apple's service a more compelling alternative to heavy hitters such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, which are used by hundreds of millions of people.

Messaging is becoming more advanced, too. WeChat in China is a platform for e-commerce and other services, Google's new Allo has a built-in voice assistant, and Facebook Messenger is becoming a channel you can use to communicate with businesses -- ordering an Uber car, for example.