iChat creator is back with a new app

As the web gets more commercial, more companies want to track and know the real you. The backlash against this — and the desire to have “ephemeral” interactions in the digital world — is why Andrew Busey, the creator of iChat 19 years ago, has built Banter, a chat app with no names and little storage. The app lets people sign up with any user name and discuss … well, anything they want.

Update: It’s important to note that the iChat name was purchased by Apple from Andrew Busey, but he did not build Apple’s iChat app. Jens Alfke built iChat at Apple.

  • Um, Andrew Busey didn’t create Apple’s iChat; if any single person did it was me (I was hired by Apple’s Mail team to create an IM app in 2000, prototyped and developed an alpha-quality version by myself, then in 2001 we hired the rest of the team and finished 1.0 for the release of OS X 10.2.)

    I don’t recognize Andrew Busey’s name, although his CrunchBase profile does credit him with “creating iChat, one of the first instant messaging applications”. I suspect what’s going on here is that he wrote the very early (1997?) IM app released by a startup called iChat. By 2002 they were more or less out of business; at that time we were deciding on a product name at Apple, and the obvious name was “iChat”, but it was already taken; so Apple basically bought the trademark from that startup. (Not any code, not any patents or design ideas or anything; just the name.)