Tile Testifies Against Apple in Antitrust Case

Posted on April 22, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, iOS, iPadOS, Mobile with 60 Comments

Fresh off the AirTag announcement, Tile general counsel Kirsten Daru testified against Apple this week at a federal antitrust hearing alongside representatives from Spotify and Match.com.

After describing Apple’s App Store as a “literal monopoly,” U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar said that the Apple and Google mobile app stores “exclude or suppress apps that compete with their own products” and “charge excessive fees that affect competition in the app store economy”.

Ms. Daru’s testimony was, however, particularly interesting since Apple has finally announced AirTag, which copies Tile’s functionality but integrates more tightly into Apple’s ecosystem.

“We welcome competition, but it has to be fair competition and Apple’s idea of competing is patently unfair,” she said during the hearing. But the most explosive bit from her testimony involved the Apple Find My service which backs AirTag and, now, third-party products that wish to integrate with it. According to Daru, Find My licensing is a “hostage” program that, among other things, prevents her from disclosing to anyone, even the U.S. Congress, what restrictions Apple places on Tile. All she could say was that Apple will not open the U1 Ultra-Wideband (UWB) chipset in its iPhone fully to third parties like Tile. And that means that competitors like Tile can never be truly competitive with what Apple offers itself. This is a common complaint against the consumer electronics giant.

As for Apple, it also had a representative at the hearing, for what appears to be comic relief purposes.

“We didn’t copy Tile’s product,” Apple Chief Compliance Officer Kyle Andeer explained, presumably trying not to smirk. “It’s extremely different to anything else on the market.”

Spotify Head of Global Affairs Horacio Gutierrez said that Apple was “undercutting [Spotify] on price” on its devices. And Match General Counsel Jared Sine detailed Apple’s “iron-fisted monopoly.”

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Comments (66)

66 responses to “Tile Testifies Against Apple in Antitrust Case”

  1. bkkcanuck

    Copying successful product ideas is one of the fundamental expectations of a market economy, as without copying there would be no competition... I see nothing wrong with copying good ideas. Imagine a world with only one car company making cars because no one copied the first company making cars... or for that matter... smart phones...

    • rsfarris

      In reply to bkkcanuck:

      It’s not copying that’s the problem (provided there are no patent or copyright infringements which is a different matter). It’s that they don’t allow competition to have full access to their internal specifications. Tile can’t take advantage of Apple’s hardware in the same way Apple can, resulting in an inability to compete. It’s strategic on Apple’s end, and I guess they can get kudos for an obvious trick to gain advantage, but because Apple dominates so many different markets, their insistence on withholding information creates unfair advantage. That’s not actually competition anymore; it’s rigging a system. I mean, we can debate on whether that should be allowed or not, but everyone should at least be calling it what it is, which is market control and manipulation resulting in monopolization.

      • bkkcanuck

        In reply to rsfarris:

        There are things that give certain companies advantages more than others and there is no rules saying that any company has to allow other companies access to all your internal specifications. Up until Apple entered the market (as I would expect of other companies), Tile did not give out specifications on how other companies could join their network did they?

        In this case Apple is under the spotlight so they are being more careful than they normally would and has APIs that can be used for 3rd parties to integrate their trackers into the Apple ecosystem... and that is the rub for Tile... and why they did not immediately jump at it (being the current market leader)... it effectively turns the trackers themselves into a commodity and turns a once closed Tile lead market into what will be a commodity market where Tile does not have any advantages anymore and the market by virtue of competition has turned into a commodity market and the only way to rise above it is through brand really (there will always be brand based markets that rise bit above the commodity market). Effectively the competitive advantage is the 'Find my network' being open can be used by any tracker making the network the advantage and the tracker a commodity.

        • rsfarris

          In reply to bkkcanuck:

          "There are things that give certain companies advantages more than others and there is no rules saying that any company has to allow other companies access to all your internal specifications."


          That's exactly what's at issue in the court case. There are no rules (at least minimal rules) because new technology. We went through this with antitrust and the railroads, steel, etc., after the industrial revolution. New laws/rules had to be created. I'm not saying there are rules where there aren't any. The debate should be about whether there should be rules (in my opinion, yes) to prevent monopolization of tech. Tile might be dominant in their niche market, but they rely on interconnectedness with other monopolized markets. Sure, Tile may be speaking out because they view this as a threat, but Apple will definitely swallow them if competition isn't allowed to thrive. Whatever rules come out of this should end up applying to both companies, so everyone wins.

          • ontariopundit

            "but Apple will definitely swallow them if competition isn't allowed to thrive. Whatever rules come out of this should end up applying to both companies, so everyone wins." To a certain extent, yes. The playing field should be level. Whether Tile should be granted to internal hardware on Apple's devices is an interesting question. Should any developer be able to access the hardware needed to use Face Unlock? Does Apple open up other proprietary hardware used to communicate with, for example, the Air Watch? I'm sure Apple owns more than a few patents in relation to the Airtags. Do they have to open those up to Tile simply because Apple has a much larger market capitalization than does Tile? "What the heck is wrong with the people defending Apple??" People mistake a challenge to a weakly developed thesis for the defense of Apple. Hating on a company for being successful and ruthless is as silly as celebrating a competitor for doing the exact same thing yet we see "haters" doing exactly that. In the past you'd see Microsoft vilified and Apple lionized and now you often see the iPhone vilified and Android lionized. The fact that Apple is a trillion dollar corporation and got there largely without drawing significant antitrust penalties (unlike Google and Microsoft) speaks to how effectively they have developed their products within the confines of antitrust law in major markets. "If Apple would open up iOS and level the playing field, we would all benefit from it." I certainly wouldn't benefit, and, frankly, I don't care about what iPhone users pay. That's their business. Of course, I guess I would benefit if Apple were forced to reduce hardware prices to move product since then Android manufacturers would be required to drop their prices too :). "even they know that there is no way of denying the monopoly abuse." The problem is that some reflexively start from the assumption that Apple is a monopoly without either (a) defining a monopoly, or (b) establishing that Apple is a monopoly. As such, they resort to throwing out insults when they are effectively challenged: "The fanboys are not in the slightest better than the followers of the Musk church." Apple is a dominant player in many markets but what is a monopoly. They are a dominant player but they are far from monopolies, even in the large, fully developed economies. Look at the United States, home turf for Apple. Even in the US Apple's iPhone sits only around 50% market share. This is a far cry from the 90% market share Microsoft enjoyed when they purposefully set out to destroy Netscape. And, in the EU, a collection of markets in which they are accused of monopoly abuse, their market share sits even lower than that in most nations. That said, the EU does have stronger regulations and a looser definition vis-à-vis monopoly abuse that Apple may very well have fallen afoul of antitrust regulations in the EU. The thing to remember is that these are all large corporations and they all happily throw up barriers to competitors working with their products. Tile doesn't let competitors make tags that will work with their software! Ultimately Tile's testimony is there as comic relief, intended to spin a political story. But, they don't really have a leg to stand on. They are simply a dominant company that was caught flat footed by a ruthless corporation who saw a legal opportunity to exact rent from customers and become a competitor. Apple's entry in the market is a win for the market. Apple has shown the world how to do these tags right. Now it's up to Tile to copy Apple :).
      • bettyblue

        In reply to rsfarris:

        Can you use a Xbox controller on a PS5? No Sony wont allow that. Should Sony be forced to open up their platform to make this happen?


        At least Tile can and has had an iOS app for a while now. Apple wont put this on Android so Tile still has a dominate market posistion because Andorid is a bigger platform and they can still have an iOS app at the same time. They just cant use parts of the iPhone that Apple does not want them too.


        It is simply competition. Tile's tags die after 1 year, so their solution is expensive and has been. Make a better product and people will buy it over other options.

        • rsfarris

          In reply to bettyblue:

          What? You can use other third party controllers on PS4, presumably PS5 soon. I'm not sure it's a matter of Sony allowing that as much as Xbox making their controllers capable of it... That's a weird analogy, and isn't strictly applicable since both Sony and Xbox allow 3rd party controllers. In fact, that strengthens the diversity in tech argument.


          As for the rest of your point, we're not disagreeing on any of that except that it's simply competition. Apple has a pattern of monopolistic anti-competitive practices and behaviors, as any company without regulation might be drawn to. I'm by no means anti-Apple either. All of my computing products are Apple with the exception of a gaming PC and peripherals. They do still need to be reigned in, along with all the other big tech companies. The Tile issue is, frankly, just a minor drop in the bucket that is representative of the larger, more persistent behaviors.

          • ontariopundit

            "Apple has a pattern of monopolistic anti-competitive practices and behaviors" I am not convinced they do. Globally they have faced far fewer sanctions than Microsoft or Google in recent years. My read of the complaints about their monopolistic practices are related to sour grapes by the iPhone fans. They resent Apple for extracting a high rent from users to belong to the Apple ecosystem but there is a perfectly viable Android market that is wholly away from Apple's control. On the Android side of things prices aren't much better and quality tends to be lower. I say this as an Android user. I love my Pixels--you'll have to pry it out of my dead hands. But, Pixels are DISPOSIBLE devices. Unlike the much maligned iPhone where third (AND FIRST) parties can and do replace batteries at a reasonable price (yes, even full freight is "reasonable" compared to what you pay for a Pixel battery replacement, provided you can find one), it costs an arm and a leg to replace a Pixel battery. I have a PERFECTLY functional original Pixel that I would love to replace the battery in, but not a single computer store will replace the battery. I've called around and they say they don't do Pixels :(. And, even when uBreakIFixIt was doing Pixel battery replacements last year they battery replacement cost more than the device itself was worth on the used market.
      • ivarh

        In reply to rsfarris:

        Lol, I remember the same thing from the 90's when I worked for an AIX reseller trying to compete with Windows as a file server using Samba. Every time the samba developers would reverse engineer the MS domain controller protocol MS would change it so that samba would be unavailable to act as a domain controller. At the time MS had a market share of 90%+ making it pretty impossible to use a competing product than Microsoft server to manage Windows clients.

    • bluvg

      In reply to bkkcanuck:

      This is more complicated since Apple owns the platform itself, though--this isn't Toyota vs. GM vs. Ford. If Toyota starting making proprietary wheels, then made proprietary tires with some kind of integration with their wheels that could only be fully leveraged by their own tires (and a spec fully known only to Toyota, along with an NDA for anyone wishing to make "compatible" tires), you can bet there would be an anti-trust suit by Michelin, Goodyear, et al.

      • bkkcanuck

        In reply to bluvg:

        Yes, but Toyota's square tires sort of flopped...


        Actually the Japanese car manufacturing very integrated top to bottom, but the thing is that the car market is not a monopoly and there is a competitive market so if Toyota did something like that it risks damaging them in the car market with consumers.... and thus moving to proprietary tires could risk their position in that competitive market. Cars are made up of many components, and those components are sourced from another competitive market and if Toyota does something stupid another car company will eat up their market share because of it.


        Also of what you speak, is reality in many ways with things such as printers, coffee machines, game machines etc... All I am saying is if it is deemed an issue then a wider reform should be done and not trying to corruptly apply current legislation for what it was not designed for. I believe the US has three major pieces of legislation when it comes to anti-trust related issues.... if it is time for a fourth -- so be it, but it should be carefully done since in doing so actually can damage competition and innovation of the market as a whole by saying what and what cannot be included an any given product. What is happening with Tile and Airtags -- happens all the time and creating an artificial chinese wall between the smartphone market and trackers - not necessarily the best for long term competition as a whole. (if it had been in place the protection of one market could have made the ability to make smartphones affordable in the first place -- a non-starter).

        • bluvg

          In reply to bkkcanuck:

          Ha! Is that a reference to South Park's square tires in Canada? :)


          I'm not a lawyer, so I can't speak to the specific legislation and precedent. If the applicable law doesn't address this well, I hear you, but if it covers imprecisely (which would be my guess), courts seem the proper channel.

      • max daru

        In reply to bluvg:

        It's more akin to Toyota owning the roads and making their wheels and suspension operate better on those roads than Honda and Ford vehicles.

    • Paul Thurrott

      There is nothing wrong with copying unless you own a monopoly and can control the original innovator's access to a huge chunk of its customer base, as Apple can and does do. That's the problem here.
      • bkkcanuck

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        At this point in time, what functionality of Tile is no longer working on iOS? Tile's app and Tile's trackers will continue to operate as they do now - independent of Apple's Find my network... There are a number of third party manufacturers that have decided to integrate into Apple's Find My network... which is another option...

        • bluvg

          In reply to bkkcanuck:

          "integrate into Apple's Find My network... which is another option..."


          But the allegation is that they cannot--nor can anyone else--integrate to the same level as Apple can. Just like some of their in-box apps--you can certainly make a competitor, but it will be artificially and intentionally hobbled by Apple. It will never be allowed to do everything the in-box app can. That is inherently anti-competitive.

          • SvenJ

            In reply to bluvg: That allegation is wrong. There are already others making products that integrate into Apple's Find My network. Chipolo, in fact, makes a similar tracker. There is a restriction I believe that a particular product can't support both networks. That is, Tile could make a tracker using Find My OR Tile's network, but not both. Chipolo makes devices that use their own network but apparently saw the advantage of making one for Find My.


            • bob_shutts

              In reply to SvenJ: You scored the winning point in this debate. Chipolo is using Find My to make a direct competitor to Air Tags. No licensing fess involved and IOS will host Chipolo's app on the App Store for no charge because the app will be free. Kind of destroys Tile's whole argument.
            • bluvg

              In reply to SvenJ:

              The allegation is not that others can't integrate with Find My, it's that no one can integrate to the same level as Apple can.

            • jgraebner

              In reply to SvenJ:

              So basically your argument is that Tile doesn't have a valid complaint because they can integrate with the Apple's network provided that they remove the cross-platform compatibility that is the primary selling point of their products over Apple's? So effectively Apple is using their ownership of a dominant platform to ensure that the only way Tile can be more competitive with Apple in one way is to eliminate the biggest advantage of their product over Apple's. That's pretty much a textbook example of the type of anti-competitive policy that monopolists are not allowed to do.

  2. Calibr21

    1. Apple sees the “find my stuff” category as a useful core capability that people will want.
    2. Apple decides to use the “find my stuff” category as an incentive to keep people locked into the Apple eco system vs a business category.
    3. Apple decides it can afford to not make any money on “find my stuff” because the eco system lock-in benefits are better.
    4. Apple not making any money effectively kills any possible competitors, current and future. No competitors will enter the market because there is no money to be made.
    5. Because there are no viable strong competitors entering the space, there is little chance of a strong cross platform solution that will be as good as Apples find my network.
    6. End result is if someone wants a good “find my stuff” solution, they need to buy into the Apple eco system. Apples master plan has come to fruition.


    I don’t see how Apple can get away with this. Remember when Microsoft was brought to court for bundling.Media Player in Windows? Seems ridiculous compared to the tactics Apple and Google are using today.


    • bkkcanuck

      In reply to Calibr21:

      The 1998 anti-trust case with bundling the media player was overturned by the court, and rather than risk the continuing case Microsoft settled with the DOJ. Microsoft at the time was an effective monopoly on a platform that it originally created as an open platform (not a console). The iPhone was originally created and has never been anything but a console from it's original inception (you can search for what was said and what was publicly stated right back to the beginning). As a console it is treated as no different than the Sony Playstation or Microsoft XBox which are also consoles. Yes, the iPhone has a significant market share -- but it does not even reach 50% of the overall market -- and as such it cannot be considered a monopoly. When judging markets for anti-trust it is not how much of your own market you own that determines it -- it is a rather liberal or wide market definition as a whole (so games are not game consoles but all devices that are meant for gaming). So the difference is that Apple's platform was never completely an open platform so they are not changing the market after it is established, they are in no way a monopoly under current statute and even with that the precedence as it was left off was that even with Microsoft having 90%+ of the personal computer market and being an 'open platform' sold to many manufacturers, etc. the courts last ruling was that Microsoft did not violate the law by bundling the media player in with the OS.


      What you have as your base OS and included utilities is not controlled by law as it stands now. You can get into trouble if you illegally tie products that are not part of the same product where one subsidizes another -- but I doubt that would apply since 'Find my' is an integral part of the product not a product that has or will in the future be a separate product. It is only a way of differentiating the device that is being sold vs it's competitors - and each of the competitors can decide what they want to invest into added functionality for their devices. That is effectively competition.


      Legislation can change the market as we know it, but it is not for the courts to write legislation only interpret it as it has been written when need be. US antitrust laws are not necessarily applicable outside the US as different markets have different laws.


      In some ways up until Airtags was announced, Tile effectively had a monopoly based on size of user base and tie in to their network and it not being open... it is sort of ironic that they may quickly find themselves going from dominant tracker to being a small part of a larger network and the tracker devices themselves just being a commodity in part of a larger network. I expect Google/Samsung trackers to show up very soon as well.

    • bettyblue

      In reply to Calibr21:

      Do you have a single piece of evidence that Apple is not making money from "find my stuff" ???

      • ivarh

        In reply to bettyblue:

        Honestly, why shouldn't they? They have built the platform over the last 13 years to allow the find my platform having the reach it does. Their success was not predetermined and they could just as well have failed and lost their investment.

    • nbplopes

      In reply to Calibr21:


      Don’t forget that you also need an iPhone to know that you aren’t being tracked by someone else iPhone. Another reason to buy an iPhone :) Create a problem and offer solution in exchange of more $$$$$$.


      Yes, it beeps, but I bet it can be silenced, especially behind the chassis of a car, scooter or whatever.


      I believe that these solutions have the potential to be a massive personal security breach. Especially since Apple made it an official mass market necessity.


      Will see how this pans out.



  3. rsfarris

    In reply to lvthunder:

    The difference is Tile relies on proprietary devices and software from Apple, et al., not the other way around. Besides, if Tile had enough domination in the market to begin monopolizing it, this complaint would apply to them as well. It's not about singling out Apple.

    • ontariopundit

      In reply to rsfarris:


      Now, isn't Tile still the dominant player in that particular industry? If that's the case then it is Tile brought in as comic relief.


      'Dominant player producing devices that do not work particularly well accuses competitor of abuse of monopoly without providing evidence of monopoly.'


      It also requires Apple to be a monopoly which it arguably is not. The market for smartphones is split roughly 50-50 in the US between Apple and everyone else. Yes, Apple is the dominant player but it has not managed to achieve monopoly status. Yes, Apple is a "monopoly" on its own devices but they are their own devices.


      That said, if enough people with decision-making powers can be convinced that Apple is indeed a monopoly it can't hurt in the long run. These excessively large corporations (Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple, and the Chinese state-"influenced" Tencent, etc.) are all a problem.


      Yes, it's fashionable to pick on Apple because Apple has been wildly successfully through legal (and not even immoral, yet legal) and shrewd moves, but Apple's outrageous success is a symptom of a much wider problem related to the extreme concentration of wealth in the hands of a very few.

  4. bart

    “It’s extremely different to anything else on the market.” - Funny that, when you don't offer the same OS integration.

  5. bettyblue

    Tile was WAY overpriced and their units need to be replaced every year.


    Amy Klobuchar is taking money for her next presidential run from anyone willing to give it to her. She has no idea what she is talking about.

  6. crunchyfrog

    Honestly, I never found Tile to be useful as every time I tried to find items, it never could help me. The jury is still out on how well Apple's tracer works but Tile cannot seem to find anything. Once I had a Tile sensor reported a low on battery but still reporting to the app, I tried to locate at home but I never could find it.

    Another lost item was showing a few blocks away but I never could locate it by direction or sound and then one day the Tile app messaged me that it had been found and gave me an address to pick it up. The owners had no idea what I was talking about.


    I don't use Tile anymore.

  7. crunchyfrog

    Technically, this does not qualify as a monopoly, people throw that word around way too much. Honestly, what's the federal government really going to do about this. Realistically, nothing but they might use it as leverage to get big companies to pay more in taxes in this country.

    • rsfarris

      In reply to crunchyfrog:

      Absolutely right by current laws and regulations; however, the federal government could design and pass new laws as they have done in the past when an industry becomes this big.

    • nbplopes

      In reply to crunchyfrog:


      Basically Apple can charge whatever for whatever goes through devices that they have built indeed yet do not own. They are the the law maker, the judge, tax maker and collector of what goes through 50% US smarphones/population without owning neither of it ... just by selling a device. Its like not owning something and get payed for its use shielded by a vague notion of a Store. Not to mention being able to fundamentally remove the competition on whatever they set their eyes on. All tangled up with legal justification based on pure casuistic examples. Its brilliant.

      • ivarh

        In reply to nbplopes:

        You assume people are forced to buy and develop for apple since there is no competition. I am deep into apple's ecosystem, but swapping to android would only take until the next time I plan to replace my phone. All of the apps I use is on andoid or have apps with the same functionality on android. The only app I use daily that I have not found on android is blink (ssh client with no subscription fee). If I want to move to around my MS office apps will translate without a problem. My contacts and email will port over with no problems. The only thing that will be a problem is my message history that is stored in iMessage. Apple is a publicly owned company and they have an obligation to their stock owner to milk the market in the same way as Microsoft have a publication to milk theirs like they did in the 80's, 90's, 00's and the beginning of the 10's until people got tired of them and moved away. If apple overmilks their customers the same will happen to them, the customers will make them fade into history .

  8. red.radar

    Tile is in self preservation mode. It was a non innovative product that was easy to copy and ripe for integration into a broader ecosystem. I think it was designed to be acquired but companies realized they could develop the product on their own for cheaper rather than buy them out.


    If it was really innovative the patent lawsuits would have come out in droves to protect the business. Instead... we go down the Monopoly / Slander path. Tile being first to market should have seen the obvious benefits to UWB and patented the technology first. This way they could have at least extracted a royalty even if they couldn't float the cash to bring a smartphone to market with the UWB radios.


    And exactly why should Apple open up its UWB technology to Tile? Tile didn't pay to develop it. Apple did the work to make the airtags unique and they are not giving that away. Furthermore, tile will still work as is with an Iphone. Its not like Apple is blocking Tile access to the platform.


    Tile played their hand way to early with their preemptive lawsuit before the product was launched. That gave apple time to update the design to avoid the legal arguments.


    I think Tiles case is weak and I think they have poorly managed the situation.


    Also... I think their product stinks. The battery is not user replaceable (Unless you get the really big and bulky model) thus contributing to ewaste. It was also incredibly foolish. The consumable nature gives their customers a natural exit ramp to look for alternatives when the battery dies, and I bet apple timed the launch perfectly. Also, the consumable nature is designed to fuel consumerism to pay for the infrastructure without charging a monthly fee. This product was a better fit for a platform. They have to maintain the infrastructure anyways for the lost devices. But Tile had to create this location infrastructure on their own and has to maintain it.


    Pardon my thought vomit rant. The situation ruffled my feathers a little.



    • Paul Thurrott

      A ... non-innovative product. Wow. So I guess it was so non-innovative that Apple took notice and copied it outright, and that you now believe Tile deserves that. For some reason.
  9. ontariopundit

    Let me get this straight, a company that does not even produce a comparable device to Apple's new tracker is complaining that Apple is making a device that competes with its devices when Tile doesn't even make such a device?


    It seems to me that this is a case of a competitor crying foul because they were beat to market by a large but new competitor. Seems to me that Tile should've been more proactive rather than feeling good about being "on top".


    Note: I can find a whole lot of hype from early January about Tile beating Apple to market but it seems like it's all hot air. Nothing since. They were caught flat footed and now they're appearing in a political circus.


    Don't get me wrong, Apple needs to be reigned in. But less so than Facebook and Amazon need to be reigned in. The latter two companies truly are a demonstrated threat to democracy and to commerce in the United States (& elsewhere). But, this isn't going to be the way to do it because, while frustrating, Apple is almost certainly well within its legal (and even moral) rights to do what it does.


    Apple is far less of a problem than Google, Facebook or Amazon. There is a clear and viable competitor to Apple in the form of a wide range of Android devices. However, there is no clear and viable alternative to the ad network of Google, the social media network of Facebook or the ecommerce platform and parcel delivery service of Amazon.


    Of all these over-sized corporations Amazon is most likely the most damaging because it affects the viability of American-based manufacturing and retail sales. The only way for anyone to compete with Amazon's economy of scale is to offshore every aspect of their business to the globe's ecommerce giant, the PRC!


    Had Trump been sincere about tackling the economic threat of China Trump would have reigned in Amazon, but instead of going after the root cause of the problem (extreme concentration of retail in the hands of one player) he went after the symptom (the economic assent of China). But, Trump only ever did what was good for Trump so that didn't happen.

    • Paul Thurrott

      Your first assertion is incorrect so I stopped reading.
      • pecosbob04

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        Gee Paul if everyone stopped reading the first time someone (including you) makes a perceived incorrect assertion the forum would die.

        • ontariopundit

          Plus, I think it's fair to say the reviews about the Airtags support my opening argument. Tile does not make a product like the Airtag. From what I can see Apple finally pulled a "classic" Apple. It's been many years since they've done that! I haven't used Apple products for many years so I don't really know what sort of things they've been up to but it seems to me the last time we saw Apple be this innovative was when they released the iPhone. Judging by the reviews, they just took a pretty mediocre product category by storm and upped the game by an order of magnitude. Tile seems like a useless gimmick to me. I've heard about these trackers before but I never saw any use for them. They are only useful in a very limited location. The Airtag, OTOH, works ANYWHERE there's a compatible iPhone with an internet connection. THAT is a game changer. If I actually had anything worth tracking AND I was invested in the iPhone ecosystem I would buy those things in a heartbeat. Hopefully Tile and Android/Google/whoever can come up with an industry standard that will replicate what Apple has achieved on the iPhone :) :) :).
    • SvenJ

      In reply to OntarioPundit: What makes you believe Tile doesn't make a comparable product? They are the leader in this particular category. They have been making them since 2012.


  10. glenn8878

    Apple simply has more ducks in the row to unfairly compete against Tile and any other competitor it decides to compete against. It can approve or ban the app, it writes terms of service, it can not reveal hardware specifications, it can limit functionality of apps, it takes a huge cut of revenue, and more and more. It's a never ending fight and it leaves to only one solution, build your own platforms.

    • bettyblue

      In reply to glenn8878:

      Tile had zero issues before Apple came out with their product. They had apps both on the Apple store and Google store. Today, right now they still dominate the market because Android is a much bigger target audience than iOS and Apple will never enter that part of the GPS tag market.

  11. j5

    I still don’t get how the App Store is a monopoly when you don’t need it. You can go with Android or an old school cellphone.

    I do see how it’s dirty to charge companies like Spotify extra when users use the App Store to pay for app memberships.


    Maybe I’m missing something and someone can explain a what I’m missing. Or is it just old fashioned companies fighting with each other for money.

    • jgraebner

      In reply to j5:

      I think the word "monopoly" causes a lot of confusion when discussing anti-trust actions. It is completely possible for a company to engage in illegal, anti-competitive activity without having a literal monopoly or even a near monopoly. In Apple's case, the allegation (which is obviously still under dispute) is that they are using their position as the owner of one of the 2 dominant mobile platforms to give themselves an unfair competitive advantage. Basically, companies like Tile, Spotify, and Epic Games are pointing out that the current marketplace, at least in the US, makes it impossible to compete in the area of mobile apps and services without supporting iOS and alleging Apple is using that fact to give their own competing services an unfair advantage.

      • fishnet37222

        In reply to jgraebner:

        Also, since iOS apps can't run on Android and vice versa, they're basically two separate markets.

      • Paul Thurrott

        The simpler way to put this is that many people clearly don't understand what it means to have a monopoly. It's not just about x percent of some userbase or market. It's about the size of the market, the ability to artificially limited the access of competitors, and much more. Apple is absolutely a monopoly. The only debate is the degree to which it abuses that monopoly.
        • ontariopundit

          The definition of monopoly is what this hinges on. Microsoft clearly had a monopoly with Windows' 90% market share in the late 90's when they intentionally set out to (a) harm Netscape and (b) change internet "standards" to favor their own technologies. They were rightly slapped on the wrist for that and wrongly not broken up. Had they been broken up then the precedent would've been established to prevent Apple, Google and Amazon from becoming "too big to handle". Google was rightly found guilty of using their 80%+ search market share to privilege their own services over those of competitors in the EU. Given those kinds of precedent it becomes a LOT harder to argue that a company with less than 50% market share is in a position where it is a monopoly. And, given that antitrust action against Apple has failed up to this point I think it shows that Apple is quite adept at staying on "this side" of antitrust regulations. That isn't to say Apple shouldn't be regulated much more strictly--absolutely! But, given the current regulations I don't think arguments of monopoly are valid. As for Tile's complaints, they are simply sour grapes by a competitor who was caught flat footed by a ruthless and shrewd competitor that had the chops to pull off a coup. From the real-world review I just finished reading (which is why I came back here), it sounds like Apple pulled an Apple. That is rare these days now that Apple is a juggernaut and not particularly hungry. They entered a poorly serviced market with a great product. Now competitors are scrambling and desperate to slow Apple down because they hadn't gotten around to doing what Apple just did. In the long run this is good for me because I don't like iPhones and eventually someone will have to build something similar for Android :) :) :).
    • flying_maverick

      In reply to j5: If only there was a 3rd mobile choice. Oh wait there was and developers didn't really embrace it for it to take off. Now those developers are complaining about the only two choices left as holding them hostage.


    • fishnet37222

      In reply to j5:

      It's a monopoly in the iOS app market.

  12. legend

    What the heck is wrong with the people defending Apple?? If Apple would open up iOS and level the playing field, we would all benefit from it. To the people who like it as it is: No worries, you will still be able to use the App Store and the Apple Card and Apple XYZ, no one will take that away from you! Also, the arguments from Apple in this case are ridiculous because even they know that there is no way of denying the monopoly abuse. If there was a good way to defend the current situation, as many commentors here think, Apples lawyers would have brought it up. ? The fanboys are not in the slightest better than the followers of the Musk church.


    I'm so sorry that you have to deal with this, Paul.

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