Apple accused of competition abuse in EU over item tracking tech

In a move that could ratchet up Apple’s regulatory woes in Europe. Apple has been accused by smaller rival Tile of abusing its power to unfairly favor one of its own products.

Apple references 'AirTags' item trackers in new support video
Apple references ‘AirTags’ item trackers in new support video

Javier Espinoza for Financial Times:

In a letter sent to European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager on Tuesday, California-based tracking app maker Tile argued that Apple was making it more difficult for users to operate its product on their smartphones compared to Apple’s own rival application, FindMy, by selectively disabling features that allow for a seamless user experience.

Tile, whose Bluetooth tracking technology allows users to find their keys, phones or other items, also called on the European Commission to open a probe into Apple’s business practices, having made similar accusations in the US earlier this year.

The tracking app maker claims that recent changes made by Apple to its operating system have resulted in a more frustrating customer experience when using Tile, as the US tech giant prepares to launch a new competing product…

Among Tile’s allegations is that Apple has made it more difficult for consumers to grant permission for its app’s tracking activities by defaulting the “always allow” function of non-Apple apps to “off” in the latest version of its operating system.

But for its FindMy app, [Tile’s general counsel Kirsten] Daru said, Apple defaults the “always allow” function to “on” during the setting up of an iPhone, creating a seamless experience.

Tile also said the appearance of frequent data access permission reminders triggered by the absence of the “always allow” function “denigrates the user experience, creates consumer frustration and undermines the integrity of our product”.

MacDailyNews Take: Tile’s full-blown panic attack continues unabated.

We applaud Apple for giving users full control over app tracking.

Yes, Apple Tags are coming (someday very soon, we hope). No, competition is not illegal. Companies are allowed to try to make better mousetraps. For running to the U.S. Congress and now the EC, like a whiny little you-know-what, we hope Tile gets so sherlocked that they can’t see straight. Get lost, Tile.

In a statement to the media, Apple said, “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.”

Pave ’em over like a parking lot, Apple.


  1. I loathe Tile and hope they go out of business, and my guess is they have financial troubles and are just trying to find a foil to mask from their own incompetence.

    They are complaining about a product Apple has not even shipped. Apple may never release a competing product (like their power mat and many other lab/non-released products).

    Tile is complaining in the US and EU about a hypothetical product. It’s insane.

  2. Though it does suck to have Apple make a version of your competing product, Tile is garbage. I bought some a few years back and they disintegrated after a couple weeks of use. Waste of money.

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