The Apple / Google / Facebook Message War Starts Now

We’re on the cusp of a global conflict that will see the three most powerful consumer Internet companies fighting to win control of interpersonal communication. The war will pit Facebook’s unified Chat / Messages / Email vs Apple’s cross-device iMessage system vs. Google’s Gmail / GChat / Hangouts. If one emerges as the definitive victor, it could sway the future of digital human interaction.

Read on as we survey the battlefield, review the weaponry of each company, and assess who could win the epic message war and the fortune that comes with it.

Last week we saw Facebook fire the shot of this war when it changed everyone’s profile contact info to display their @facebook.com address and hide their previously selected Gmail, MobileMe, or other email addresses. Why? To box out Google and Apple. Even with natural advantages like a firm grip on identity and the social graph, plus the fact that it works across both iOS and Android devices, Facebook still felt like it needed to attack.

We’ve likely reached “peak SMS” — next year fewer text messages may be sent than this year due to the rise of data-based alternatives. Now is the time for one of these three messaging platforms to take the place of SMS.

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