WordPress Owner Buys Beeper, the Company Behind iMessage on Android

Why Trust Techopedia
Key Takeaways

  • WordPress owner Automattic has bought Beeper, which made an iMessage workaround for Android.
  • The company will merge Beeper with its Texts team.
  • Automattic hopes to create a hub for all online chat.

WordPress owner Automattic has acquired Beeper, best known for releasing an unofficial tool that brought iMessage to Android.

Automattic didn’t reveal the terms of the deal, but said it planned to merge Texts.com (which the company bought in October 2023) with Beeper. TechCrunch sources claimed the purchase was worth $125 million, and that Beeper founder Eric Migicovsky would helm Automattic’s messaging team.

The firm characterized the purchase as the “next step” toward a platform that unifies online conversations. In theory, users will have a single app that handles all their chats. Migicovsky added that the costs of maintaining Beeper were high, and that his startup had to either get more funding or seek a buyer.

Migicovsky has discussed eventually moving users over to Beeper’s open source Matrix protocol behind the scenes.

Beeper was founded in 2020, but rose to prominence when it hired teenager James Gill in 2023. The student reverse-engineered iMessage, getting it to work on Android with end-to-end encryption and a few other key features. Beeper Mini offered support for Apple’s chat format in December that year.

Apple repeatedly blocked Beeper Mini soon after it launched, and the developers stopped updating the software on December 23rd. The unofficial service highlighted Apple’s determination to keep iMessage as a platform exclusive and prompted an antitrust investigation from US senators.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) cited iMessage’s exclusivity on iPhones as a factor behind its own antitrust case, filed earlier this month.

The acquisition is unlikely to revive iMessage on Android any time soon. However, it comes just as politicians and regulators in the US and Europe are calling on Apple to open some of its technology and help foster competition. Automattic’s purchase theoretically positions it to support iMessage if and when it’s officially available on Android.

If nothing changes, however, Automattic and Beeper may still have an edge. The messaging space has fragmented into numerous platforms that include Instagram, Signal, Telegram, WhatsApp and other popular services. The WordPress creator’s backing could help Beeper get a stronger foothold and integrate features that previously weren’t viable.