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US leaders call for investigation into Apple’s shutdown of Beeper: Report



Apple and DoJ

We know that something was going to happen when the news broke that Apple had actually shutdown the access to iMessage by Beeper, a company which was trying to provide iMessage for Android, without having the green bubbles that are seen as an annoyance to Android users which also want to communicate with their friends via iMessage. Since Apple confirmed that they did shutdown Beeper’s access to use iMessage, we immediately thought about how this could be seen as a monopolistic move and one that would not go down well with some of the lawmakers in the US. And that is exactly what has happened.

We are getting reports that four US representatives have asked the Department of Justice in the US to look into the matter of Apple’s shutdown of Beeper allowing the use of iMessage from Android as if it is a native user of iOS. While Apple had already said at that time that Beeper was causing security issues, we will like to understand the company’s stance better if and when the investigation does happen.

In a letter to the DoJ, US Representatives said that “Apple executives have previously admitted the company leverages iMessage to lock users into Apple’s ecosystem of devices and services.” and described the company as a “gatekeeper”. They added that “We are therefore concerned that Apple’s recent actions to disable Beeper Mini harm competition, eliminate choices for consumers, and will discourage future innovation and investment in interoperable messaging services. We also fear these types of tactics may more broadly chill future investment and innovation for those that seek to compete with existing digital gatekeepers. Thus, we refer this matter to the Antitrust Divsion to investigate whether this potentially anticompetitive conduct by Apple violated antitrust laws.”

As per a report from 9to5Google, throughout the letter, words such as “interoperability and competition are mentioned in several areas, and that seemingly sets the stage for an investigation to look into how Apple handles this service, which could be a rather big deal”. Now, we know that Apple is a private company is not obliged to provide access to iMessage for everyone but it could be interested to see how things pan out in this case.

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