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Four U.S. lawmakers think Apple blocking Beeper Mini’s hack is ‘potentially anticompetitive conduct’

lundi 18 décembre 2023, 17:43 , par Mac Daily News
Apple’s Messages icon
A few days after the Beeper Mini app launched a way for users to send blue-bubble iMessages directly from their Android iPhone knockoffs, Apple shut down the app’s access to its iMessage messaging service, citing security risks. Now, four U.S. lawmakers think, and we use that term loosely, that Apple’s blocking Beeper Mini’s hack into their secure messaging service is “potentially anticompetitive conduct.”
Jo Ling Kent via X:

Senator @amyklobuchar + @SenMikeLee + @RepJerryNadler + @RepKenBuck sent this to DOJ regarding ongoing fight betwn Beeper Mini vs Apple “to investigate whether this potentially anticompetitive conduct by Apple violated antitrust laws.” I’ll have the full story on @CBSMornings tmrw

The letter, verbatim:
The Honorable Jonathan Kanter
Assistant Attorney General
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Dear Assistant Attorney General Kanter:
We write regarding Apple’s potential anticompetitive treatment of the Beeper Mini messaging application. We have long-championed increased competition, innovation, and consumer choice in the digital marketplace. To protect free and open markets, it is critical for the Antitrust Division to be vigilant in enforcing our antitrust laws. That is why together we have led efforts in Congress to ensure the agency has the authorities, tools, and resources necessary to police abuses of market power.
Earlier this month, Beeper introduced Beeper Mini, an interoperable messaging service that allows users of the Android mobile operating system to communicate with users of Apple’s iMessage service. Previously, Android users were unable to securely communicate with iMessage users and were relegated to using decades-old, unencrypted SMS technology. Within days of its launch, Beeper Mini users began to experience service disruptions. Apple admitted it took action to disable Beeper Mini, citing security and privacy concerns for iMessage users. Apple executives have previously admitted the company leverages iMessage to lock users into Apple’s ecosystem of devices and services. Beeper Mini threatened to reduce this leverage creating more competitive mobile applications market, which in turn a more competitive mobile device market.
Earlier this year the Department of Commerce released a report titled Competition in the Mobile Application Ecosystem, describing Apple as a “gatekeeper” with a “monopoly position” in its mobile app ecosystem. The Department of Commerce observed that “antitrust enforcement is essential for ensuring competition in the mobile app ecosystem.” These findings are consistent with those of numerous other antitrust enforcers and international competition authorities.
In December 2015, Beeper’s Chief Executive Officer, Eric Migicovsky, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights. He expressed concern that dominant messaging services would use their position to impose barriers to interoperability and prevent Beeper entering and delivering services that consumers want.
Given Apple’s recent actions, that concern appears prescient. As you know, interoperability and interconnection have long been key drivers of competition and consumer choice in communications services, from telephones to email. Startups and small businesses drive innovation, create jobs, and can disrupt entrenched incumbents when allowed to compete. But consumers will never benefit from competition if dominant firms are allowed to snuff out that competition at its incipiency.
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 chil! future investment and innovation from those that seek to compete with existing digital gatekeepers. Thus, we refer this matter to the Antitrust Division to investigate whether this
potentially anticompetitive conduct by Apple violated the antitrust laws.
Amy Klobuchar
United States Senator
Mike Lee
United States Senator
Jerrold Nadler
United States Representative
Ken Buck
United States Representative

MacDailyNews Take: Headline correction: Four idiotic U.S. lawmakers think Apple blocking Beeper Mini’s hack is “potentially anticompetitive conduct.” Stop electing morons.
The nine scariest words in the English language are “I’m with the government and I’m here to help. – Ronald Reagan

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