Spotlight on Apple’s Tile killer and Opt-in tracking in advance of today’s Senate hearing on Apple’s and Google’s market power.
From the New York Times’ “Apple’s New Devices Target Markets Led by Smaller Rivals” posted Wednesday:
Apple unveiled a series of new products on Tuesday that showed how it continues to center its marketing pitch on consumer privacy, at the potential expense of other companies, while muscling into markets pioneered by much smaller competitors.
In an hourlong infomercial that was streamed from its Silicon Valley headquarters, Apple showed off a new high-end iPad and an iMac desktop computer based on new computer processors that Apple now makes itself. The company also said it was redesigning its podcast app, which competes with companies like Spotify, to enable creators to charge for their shows. And it revealed the AirTag, a $29 disc that attaches to key rings or wallets so they can be found if lost.
But after its product show, Apple made other news that could have far more significant, industrywide implications. The company said in a news release that it planned to release highly anticipated iPhone software next week with a privacy feature that worries digital-advertising companies, most notably Facebook…
On Tuesday, Apple’s AirTag immediately drew criticism from Tile, a company that for years has made similar devices for finding lost items. “We welcome competition, as long as it is fair competition,” said CJ Prober, Tile’s chief executive. “Unfortunately, given Apple’s well-documented history of using its platform advantage to unfairly limit competition for its products, we’re skeptical.”
Tile has accused Apple of anticompetitive practices since Apple began working on a competing product. Last year, Tile’s general counsel testified to Congress that, shortly after reports that Apple was working on similar gadgets surfaced, Apple pulled Tile’s devices from its stores and made it more difficult for them to work with iPhones.
Tile’s general counsel, along with executives from Apple, Google, Spotify and the dating company Match Group, is set to testify on Wednesday at a Senate hearing on Apple’s and Google’s market power and control over mobile apps.
My take: As a long-time Tile user who’s planning to order a couple of AirTag four-packs early Friday, I can see why CJ Prober’s nose might be out of joint.