Tile has sent a letter to the European Commission for Competition in the EU complaining against Apple for making it more difficult to use its products on iPhones “by selectively disabling features that allow for seamless user experience.” Tile has asked the EU to investigate Apple’s anti-competitive business practices.
Tile says in the letter that Apple is making it harder for people to use the Tile app as it is competing with the company’s own Find My app. Tile’s complaints relate to the changes introduced by Apple in iOS 13 that prevent an app from accessing location data in the background which hampers its functionality. It notes in the latter that changing these options requires users to navigate through complex settings which is something that not everyone would be inclined to do. In contrast, Apple’s own Find My app is able to access location data in the background without having to send regular reminders to users about this.
This is not the first time that Apple has spoken out against Apple. The company had testified against Apple in front of a panel of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. Tile’s General Counsel noted had then noted that both companies had a mutually beneficial relationship but it started deteriorating since 2019 as it emerged that Apple was working on its own Tile-like competitor. After that hearing, Apple’s anti-competitive behavior against Tile has “gotten worse, not better.”
The relation between Apple and Tile has only soured since last year since it emerged that the Cupertino company is also working on its own Tile-like tracker that would possibly be called AirTags. An iPhone user would be able to use the Find My app on their device to find AirTags and in turn, the item on which they have been tagged. Apple has also terminated its agreement with Tile for selling its products in its retail stores ever since it started working on AirTags.
Apple has responded to Tile’s allegations in the letter with the following statement:
“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.”
The EU is going to reply to Tile’s letter and also plans on launching an investigation against Apple.[Via Financial Times]