- Tile believes that Apple is engaging in anti-competitive practices, thus sent a letter to the EU commissioner.
- While the accusation is being reviewed, Apple responded by strenuously denying the allegations.
- Apple could introduce Bluetooth trackers soon, and that would indeed bar everyone else out.
Tile, the Bluetooth-based tracker maker, has sent a letter to the European Competition Commissioner on Tuesday, complaining about Apple’s anti-competitive practices. More specifically, Tile is finding that Apple’s default settings on the iOS 13.5 are robbing the competition from having a fair shot in the closed ecosystem, as users are more or less pushed to use Apple’s “FindMy” app. The latest iOS update has turned the particular app to the “always on” setting, while third-party tracking apps were set to “off.” This creates an aggressive environment for apps and products like those of Tile’s to flourish in, and thus the company feels they’re the victim of anti-competitive practices.
The European Commission is still reviewing the letter, having marked the investigation on the accusations as “ongoing.” However, it is unlikely that we will see anything official on that for the next couple of months. The commission is still investigating a similar case against Apple, submitted by Spotify quite a while back. Antitrust complaints against Apple aren’t anything out of the ordinary, and at the same time, they are pretty much powerless in terms of forcing the tech company to open up iOS to third parties. Apple is in full control of their products, and even if they are compelled to leave an open door somewhere, they will simply implement blocks on a different level.
As for how the Cupertino took the Tile letter, the answer is that they flatly denied everything they are being accused of. In a statement that they shared with Financial Times, Apple stated:
“We strenuously deny the allegations of uncompetitive behavior that Tile is waging against us. Consistent with the critical path we’ve been on for over a decade, last year we introduced further privacy protections that safeguard user location data. Tile doesn’t like those decisions so instead of arguing the issue on its merits, they’ve instead decided to launch meritless attacks.”
Tile has information about Apple preparing hardware trackers that are similar to their offerings, so they feel that the door to iOS for them will soon shut forever unless fair competition commissions do something to stop it. The truth is, if Apple launches its tracking tool, iOS users will go for it against anything else in the market. Even if Tile’s products remain cheaper, or even better in every possible way, people will still buy Apple’s trackers. The reasons why people like to lock themselves into Apple’s ecosystem include design consistency, the promise of ultimate security, and ensuring optimal and non-hassle functionality with all upcoming iOS versions.