Apple Responds to Tile’s Complaint to European Commission
Tile, the maker of Bluetooth tracking devices, has accused Apple of anti-competitive practices and written a letter to the European competition commissioner.
As per Financial Times, the letter, written by Tile's General Counsel Kirsten Daru, says:
“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,”
“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,”
The main point of concern for Tile is that Apple gives 'always allow' access to its Find My app when users set up an iPhone. Without always-on location access, users will not be able to take advantage of the app to locate their Apple devices.
The company also claims that Apple's termination of its deal to sell Tile trackers in its Stores denies equal placement for its products. Note that Apple does not sell any product yet that competes with Tile. Even when it does, it is under no obligation under any law that it should sell any particular product in its stores.
Tile seems to be afraid of Apple's rumored AirTag accessory being superior to its product, due to anti-competitive practices by the Cupertino giant, and that is the reason that it has been approaching various avenues against Apple.
Apple responded to Tile's claims in a statement to Financial Times:
"We strenuously deny the allegations of uncompetitive behaviour that Tile is waging against us,” Apple said in a statement. “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."
This is not the first time that Tile has gone on the offensive against Apple. Earlier this year, Tile testified in the United States Congress against Apple's iOS 13 location tracking changes. The company claimed that the changes in iOS 13 benefit Apple's own apps, and puts third-party apps at a disadvantage. From Apple's perspective, the changes were done for user privacy. However, since then, Apple changed how the default location settings in iOS 13 work, giving developers and users more control to 'Always Allow' location access in the background to apps.