Republican FCC Fee Brendan Carr mentioned the company ought to examine Apple over its transfer to dam the “Beeper Mini” app that allowed Android customers to entry iMessage.
Carr – a frequent critic of Apple and other Big Tech firms – expressed concern that the Cupertino, Calif.-based firm had violated the Federal Communications Fee’s Half 14 guidelines.”
The foundations require that “superior communications providers” should be accessible to folks with disabilities.
“Beeper bridged the “blue bubble-green bubble” divide that Apple maintains as a part of a broader set of walled backyard practices that inhibit competitors,” Carr mentioned Monday.
“Apple’s wider set of exclusionary practices warrant scrutiny by antitrust and competitors companies, however the FCC must also look at this specific incident by way of the lens of our Half 14 guidelines on accessibility, usability, and compatibility,” the commissioner added.
Apple has lengthy restricted entry to its encrypted iMessage service to its personal gadgets, with Android customers showing as a dreaded “inexperienced bubble” after they textual content iPhone customers. Beeper Mini briefly allowed Android customers to seamlessly interface with iMessage and acquire entry to in-app options akin to emojis.
Apple modified iMessage’s settings to dam Beeper Mini’s entry in December. The corporate has argued that enabling third-party entry would create person privateness and gadget safety dangers.
Carr pointed to FCC guidelines which state that coated suppliers “shall not set up community options, features, or capabilities that impede accessibility or usability.”
Apple and the FCC didn’t instantly return requests for remark.
If it had been to proceed, an FCC probe would mark one more headache for Apple at a time of elevated scrutiny over its enterprise practices.
Late final yr, the US Worldwide Commerce Fee pressured Apple to cease promoting a few of its smartwatches after figuring out it had infringed on a patent for testing blood oxygen ranges. Apple is interesting the choice.
Carr is considered one of many policymakers who’ve expressed concern about Apple’s conduct towards Beeper Mini.
In December, a bipartisan group of 4 lawmakers — Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) and US Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.) – requested the Justice Division to investigate whether Apple broke antitrust laws by blocking Beeper.
“We additionally concern a lot of these techniques might extra broadly chill future funding,” the lawmakers mentioned.
The DOJ might file an antitrust lawsuit against Apple by as soon as March, Bloomberg reported final month. The feds are reportedly set to argue that Apple engages in anticompetitive practices to make sure the continued dominance of its iPhone ecosystem.