After almost a year of speculation, Apple has finally introduced its own tracking device ‘AirTag‘ at the Spring Loaded event. But unhappy with the competing product, Tile has accused the Cupertino tech giant of “unfair competition” on its platform. Tile is a leading American manufacturer of Bluetooth tracking devices.
In a statement released only a few hours after Apple unveiled AirTag, Tile expressed concerns of anti-competitive behavior by the Cupertino tech company against third-party products. And this is not the first time Tile has levied such an allegation against Apple. In June 2020, the tracker manufacturer wrote a letter of complaint to the EU claiming that Apple was deliberately affecting its iOS Tile app service to push its own product. For evidence, Tile presented that Apple has kept the “always allow” location tracking for its Find My app and has disabled it for third-party apps. Furthermore, the manufacture said that its app is denied equal placement in the App Store and Apple no longer sold its product at its outlets.
After the introduction of AirTag, Tile accuses Apple of anti-competitive behavior
TechCrunch reports that in its statement, Tile CEO CJ Prober expressed skepticism of Apple’s to maintain healthy competition on its platform and said that he is happy to discuss the issue at the Congress hearing. Prober wrote that,
Our mission is to solve the everyday pain point of finding lost and misplaced things and we are flattered to see Apple, one of the most valuable companies in the world, enter and validate the category Tile pioneered.
The reason so many people turn to Tile to locate their lost or misplaced items is because of the differentiated value we offer our consumers. In addition to providing an industry leading set of features via our app that works with iOS and Android devices, our service is seamlessly integrated with all major voice assistants, including Alexa and Google. And with form factors for every use case and many different styles at affordable prices, there is a Tile for everyone.
Tile has also successfully partnered with top brands like HP, Intel, Skullcandy and fitbit to enable our finding technology in mass market consumer categories like laptops, earbuds and wearables. With over 30 partners, we look forward to extending the benefits of Tile to millions of customers and enabling an experience that helps you keep track of all your important belongings.
We welcome competition, as long as it is fair competition. Unfortunately, given Apple’s well-documented history of using its platform advantage to unfairly limit competition for its products, we’re skeptical. And given our prior history with Apple, we think it is entirely appropriate for Congress to take a closer look at Apple’s business practices specific to its entry into this category. We welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues further in front of Congress tomorrow.
Denying the allegations, in its response, Apple explained that certain location sharing features were changed to protect users’ privacy and that it has expanded the Find My app for third-party developers. Apple’s statement reads:
We have worked from the very beginning of iPhone to help protect the privacy of users’ location data, giving them transparency and control over how all apps may access and share their location. Apple created Find My over a decade ago to help users locate and manage lost devices in a private and secure way.
Since then, we have expanded Find My to help users keep tabs on the other important things in their life — from sharing location with friends and family members, to locating third-party products like Van Moof bikes and Chipolo item finders. We have always embraced competition as the best way to drive great experiences for our customers, and we have worked hard to build a platform in iOS that enables third-party developers to thrive.