Tile Says Apple Changed iOS to Harm Its Business

In a new complaint to EU antitrust regulators, Tile alleges that Apple changed iOS specifically to harm it as Apple preps to release a competing tracker.

“In the past twelve months, Apple has taken several steps to completely disadvantage Tile, including by making it more difficult for consumers to use our products and services,” Tile general counsel Kirsten Daru writes to European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager in the letter, which has been viewed by the Financial Times. “This is particularly concerning because Apple’s actions come at the same time that Apple both launched a new FindMy app that competes even more directly with Tile and also began preparing for the launch of a competitive hardware product.”

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Tile makes a Bluetooth-based family of hardware tracking devices that helps its customers find keys, phones, computers, and other objects to which they are attached. But Apple is getting ready to enter this market with its own tracker hardware.

Its complaints to the EU mirror earlier complaints that it made to US antitrust regulators, and they also mirror other complaints against Apple, including those by Spotify. In this case, Tile notes that Apple made it more difficult for iPhone users to grant permission to tracker solutions like Tile’s while changing the default setting to its own FindMy app to “always allow.” It also triggers multiple permission reminders for third-party solutions, which Tiles accurately says “denigrates the user experience, creates consumer frustration and undermines the integrity of our product.”

Furthermore, Tiles says that Apple is artificially lowering the visibility of Tile in the Apple App Store and that it terminated its agreement to sell Tile’s popular hardware devices through its retail and online stores.

Apple feigned outrage at the curiously familiar charges.

“We strenuously deny the allegations of uncompetitive behavior that Tile is waging against us,” an Apple statement says. “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.”

The EU, meanwhile, simply says that its investigation of Apple’s “alleged anti-competitive practices through its App Store policies is ongoing” and has no further comment.

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Conversation 7 comments

  • lvthunder

    Premium Member
    29 May, 2020 - 12:29 pm

    <p>Apple currently has no competing product against Tile. How can it be anti competitive? </p>

    • IanYates82

      Premium Member
      29 May, 2020 - 7:19 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#543679">In reply to lvthunder:</a></em></blockquote><p>They're preparing to launch one </p>

  • VancouverNinja

    Premium Member
    29 May, 2020 - 1:26 pm

    <p>They are prepping for their products release. If the details Tile states are true, it's pretty clear. </p><p><br></p><p>When I learnt that you can use Visual Studio on a Mac and compile for all major platforms but that if you used a version of Visual Studio for Windows PCs you must buy a Mac to compile for Apple products it underscored the lengths that Apple will stoop to force people into buying their products. It has literally forced Millions of developers to buy Macs when they did not want to buy a Mac. And the answer from Apple…ditch the PC if you have a problem with investing in the two platforms. While I have enjoyed iPhones and iPads I have never liked the Mac OS, many do, but I would never give up Windows 10 for MAC OSX.</p><p><br></p><p>Apple's optics to the average consumer look lux and fantastic but they have no respect for users at any level. Customers are simply lemmings to be bilked.</p><p><br></p><p> </p>

  • Mark from CO

    29 May, 2020 - 1:41 pm

    <p>The upcoming monopoly/anti-competitive charges that may be coming against Apple, Google and Facebook may make the charges against Microsoft look like child's play. The next year may be very interesting from a legal perspective!</p>

  • rm

    29 May, 2020 - 5:18 pm

    <p>Apple is just playing the game of continuing to do the same harm over and over again to get its services advantages they should not have.</p>

  • red.radar

    Premium Member
    29 May, 2020 - 7:40 pm

    <p>The find my app was the combination of two different apps that already existed. I hardly think that is a competitive threat. Furthermore find my friends and find my Apple stuff applications have been around as long as the platform and predate Tile as a company. This particular point seems like they are just piling on and not legitimate. </p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

  • Jeffsters

    03 June, 2020 - 6:48 pm

    <p>I have 12 tiles, I use them all the time, have done so for years. I subscribe to their services as well. I don't see any issues or difference so I'm not sure what Tile is talking about. That said, Tiles backend systems are terrible where Sales and support don't talk. I had one of the 12 unable to pair out of the box and the support person basically, and strangely, accused me to trying to get a free tag. They have issues. They FINALLY created an alert for when you leave the proximity of a tag but it's implemented poorly. Net, net, if they were more focused on their product and customer, and less on silly court cases, they would be in a lot better long term position.</p>

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