Sen. Amy Klobuchar calls AirTags release 'timely' ahead of Senate antitrust hearing

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 21
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the chair of the U.S. Senate's antitrust subcommittee, called the release of AirTags "timely" ahead of a hearing examining the market power of Apple and Google.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights is planning to hold a hearing examining Apple's App Store and the Google Play Store on Wednesday. Sen. Klobuchar is spearheading the hearing as the chair of the subcommittee.

Hours ahead of the hearing Wednesday, Klobuchar said that the timing of the release of Apple's AirTag tracking accessories is relevant because it represents some of the behavior that the subcommittee is planning to investigate.

"It's timely given that this is the type of conduct that we'll be talking about at the hearing," Klobuchar said, adding that there has been less criticism of Apple and Google's app store polices than "there needed to be."

The launch of AirTags places Apple in direct competition with Tile, which has expressed antitrust concerns about Apple in the past. A top legal official for Tile is expected to testify against Apple in the Senate hearing on Wednesday.

At the hearing, Tile is reportedly planning to ask Congress to probe Apple's conduct and business practices related to the Find My app and platform.

In a statement on Tuesday, Tile CEO CJ Prober said that the company welcomes competition but added that it is "skeptical" of Apple's AirTags, citing allegations of Apple "using platform advantage to unfairly limit competition."

Ahead of the launch of AirTags, Apple opened up its Find My platform to third-party manufacturers and tracking device makers. Some view the move as an attempt to stave off antitrust concerns surrounding AirTags.

Apple's Chief Compliance Officer, Kyle Andeer, is slated to speak at the Senate antitrust hearing, which is slated for 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, April 21.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    j2fusionj2fusion Posts: 101member
    Soooo... does that mean Apple cannot introduce any products that compete with existing ones. Doesn’t that give existing manufacturers an anticompetitive edge?
    mike1pulseimagessdw2001Graeme000jas99williamlondonBeatsjony0repressthisAnilu_777
  • Reply 2 of 39
    davendaven Posts: 617member
    Nothing stoped competing products from creating their own apps to find their tags. In fact, they did just that. 
    sdw2001jas99repressthisapplguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 39
    Does Tile really have that much competition? From what I've seen, most of the 'best of' lists for bluetooth trackers are dominated by Tile products. 
    pulseimagesGraeme000jony0repressthisbyronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 39
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,597member
    j2fusion said:
    Soooo... does that mean Apple cannot introduce any products that compete with existing ones. Doesn’t that give existing manufacturers an anticompetitive edge?
    I just keep thinking that Tile has been around for years and a minuscule number of consumers own them. That seems to be a major missed opportunity on their part. Apple will probably sell more Air Tags than Tile has ever sold in just the first 12 hours and somehow that's anti-competitive. Sorry kiddos. You had a huge head start and still couldn't make your product the de facto standard.
    pulseimagesjas99pumpkin_kingwilliamlondonrandominternetpersonjony0repressthisAnilu_777watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 39
    mike1 said:
    j2fusion said:
    Soooo... does that mean Apple cannot introduce any products that compete with existing ones. Doesn’t that give existing manufacturers an anticompetitive edge?
    I just keep thinking that Tile has been around for years and a minuscule number of consumers own them. That seems to be a major missed opportunity on their part. Apple will probably sell more Air Tags than Tile has ever sold in just the first 12 hours and somehow that's anti-competitive. Sorry kiddos. You had a huge head start and still couldn't make your product the de facto standard.
    Right. How many non-techies do you know that could tell you what Tile is? When your company’s consumer-oriented product has been on the market for as long as Tile and most people don’t know what it is it doesn’t bode well for the future of your company. That doesn’t have anything to do with competitors.

    By the way, even among my “techie” friends, I know very few that use Tile at all.
    pulseimagesjas99williamlondonjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 39
    occam1occam1 Posts: 1member
    Apple probably shouldn't have been allowed to release a watch or a tablet, given that they unfairly used success of iPhone to swamp those markets. And iPhone unfairly competed against other mobile phones by leveraging the prior success of iPod, which itself started by using the existing Mac user base to gain ownership of the mobile media player market. In fact, introducing the Mac with the first mass-market GUI after the success of Apple ][ was really unfair to other computer makers. I'm not sure why Apple should be allowed to stay in business at all, given that every one of the products it sells today leveraged prior platform success to gain unfair advantages over the competition. You could hardly think of something more anticompetitive.

    Or, wait... do I have the meaning of that word right?
    sdw2001jas99williamlondonmwhiteBeatsrandominternetpersonjony0Anilu_777applguybyronl
  • Reply 7 of 39
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 8,999member
    j2fusion said:
    Soooo... does that mean Apple cannot introduce any products that compete with existing ones. Doesn’t that give existing manufacturers an anticompetitive edge?
    Yes, that’s exactly what it means. Apple and Google will be barred from releasing competitive products and services if a small time operator like Tile released it first. Tile would be granted the entire market if it was first to market. It means there will be a race to release as many shitty products as you can in order to prevent Apple from releasing something better. And they’ll call it ‘fair’.
    jas99mike1williamlondonBeatsjony0byronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 39
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 703member
    j2fusion said:
    Soooo... does that mean Apple cannot introduce any products that compete with existing ones. Doesn’t that give existing manufacturers an anticompetitive edge?
    No, nobody is saying that.

    So much Hyperbole on this thread. It's an investigation.
    williamlondonCloudTalkin
  • Reply 9 of 39
    mike1 said:
    j2fusion said:
    Soooo... does that mean Apple cannot introduce any products that compete with existing ones. Doesn’t that give existing manufacturers an anticompetitive edge?
    I just keep thinking that Tile has been around for years and a minuscule number of consumers own them. That seems to be a major missed opportunity on their part. Apple will probably sell more Air Tags than Tile has ever sold in just the first 12 hours and somehow that's anti-competitive. Sorry kiddos. You had a huge head start and still couldn't make your product the de facto standard.
    Right. How many non-techies do you know that could tell you what Tile is? When your company’s consumer-oriented product has been on the market for as long as Tile and most people don’t know what it is it doesn’t bode well for the future of your company. That doesn’t have anything to do with competitors.

    By the way, even among my “techie” friends, I know very few that use Tile at all.
    I looked into Tile years ago but wasn’t overly blown away by them. It doesn’t make sense to me to use a product by a company with such a small user base. With Apple, the majority of people I know have an iPhone and locating a lost tag will be much more realistic than with Tile. I haven’t seen a Tile advertisement in many years. 
    jas99Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 39
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,421member
    I feel like my reaction to Amy Klobuchar's existence is one big eye roll.  Timely?  Uh, I guess if she tries to make it so.  I just see it as Apple....gasp....releasing a new product in a category that exists.  These hearings are going to be a joke, and people with any technology knowledge at all on both sides of the aisle know it.  It's all a dog and pony show to make it look like they are doing something for their constituents.  The Democrats will focus on anti-trust issues, but they are largely supported by these companies, so that's unlikely to go anywhere.  The GOP will focus on censorship, but doesn't seem to have any decent plans for addressing it.  You may have a few in the GOP worked up about anti-trust, but not enough.  In the end, I suspect nothing will happen.  At least nothing good.  
    Beatsjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 39
    I don't even know what tile is and never heard of before in my short life of 40 years. Samsung tag came out before airtag then why are they only pick on apple?  airtag didn't keep everything in apple ego system and allow third party company to participate to use the find my network which is more than Samsung tag feature can do. it doesn't seem fair to us as the customers to only allow to use with what ever the small company come out with that is not even useful to us at all.  here apple came out with something we can really benefit from but then got attack for introduce such thing.  if you can't compete then go find something else you good at, you shouldn't come to the company and tell them you can't come out with thing we going to use and benefit to us. the judge or what ever probably bought by the opposite to attack apple. really depressing!
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 39
    So Samsung can create a tag and no response from this Dumb Democrat.  And I typically supports dems but in this case, some members of Congress are ancient relics.
    edited April 21 williamlondonBeatsjony0pujones1watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 39
    davidwdavidw Posts: 1,179member
    j2fusion said:
    Soooo... does that mean Apple cannot introduce any products that compete with existing ones. Doesn’t that give existing manufacturers an anticompetitive edge?
    Evidently, Apple can not introduce any product that compete with existing ones, only if it competes with other products in their own ecosystem, iOS. Tile and Spotify would probably  have no problem if Apple were to introduce products that compete with them only on Android. 

    Using the logic of these clueless CEO's, politicians and some of the commenters here, Google should not be allow to have Google Map on Android devices. Google is being anti-competitive by competing with other map apps on their own ecosystem, Android.  Yet, we don't hear Google being a crybaby, like the CEO's of Spotify and Tile, by jumping on the anti-completive band wagon because Google Map has to compete with Apple's own Apple Map on iOS.  Google just did what it takes to be competitive, try to make a better product that iOS users rather use, than what Apple has to offer.  And Apple did not jump on the anti-competitive band wagon because they have to compete with Google Play Music (now YouTube Music) on Android. Imagine if Microsoft were not allowed introduce MS Office on their Windows platform, because that would be anti-competitive? 

    This would be different if Apple were to not allow Tile or Spotify on iOS. 
    lkruppwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 39
    davidwdavidw Posts: 1,179member
    mknelson said:
    j2fusion said:
    Soooo... does that mean Apple cannot introduce any products that compete with existing ones. Doesn’t that give existing manufacturers an anticompetitive edge?
    No, nobody is saying that.

    So much Hyperbole on this thread. It's an investigation.
    You are only correct if you think the CEO of Tile and Spotify are nobodies. And so are the members of the Coalition for App Fairness, that are lobbying (paying) politicians to investigate this. What a bunch of nobodies .... right? 
    Beatsrandominternetpersonjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 39
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,515member
    Where Apple succeeds with AirTags is that the awareness is baked into iOS.  Tile requires an app, and (as I understand it) that app has to be running.  As Tile's market share is next-to nothing, Apple's version will immediately be of more use.  My lost tag can be picked up anonymously by any late-model iPhone and nothing has to be done.  That's huge.

    If it works like I hope it does, I will be buying a 4-pack for sure.  

    I'm only guessing, but I think why Tile is having a hissy-fit is that Apple has the advantage of using any iPhone without an app in order to use it, whereas Tile does not get that privilege.  I don't think it will hold up in court thought.

    I find it ironic that Tile is complaining about having additional competition.  Why isn't Tile complaining about Samsung's similar offering?
    williamlondonjony0geordiekorperpujones1tmayleavingthebiggwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 39
    gremlingremlin Posts: 57member
    I believe the issues tile has with Apple is that they have closed off the U1 chip to competitors and tile’s own software is turned off by default and reminds users that they are being tracked where as ‘Findmy’ is turned on by default
  • Reply 17 of 39
    I use tiles and will be switching to airtags.  Tiles are good, not great. There has been minimal improvement over the years and the app is very basic and provides no real guidance other than sound.  Tile was clearly happy to do a minimum amount of innovation even though airtags have been on their radar for years.  The ability to leverage the entire Apple ecosystem to locate a lost tag is feature that tile cannot match.  While tile does have a similar feature it requires another tile to be in range of your lost tile, and you can figure the chances of that.  The one thing that is missing from airtags is the ability to locate your phone from the tile.  This works via bluetooth and is very effective.  Much easier than locating from "find my".
    williamlondonAnilu_777watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 39
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,597member
    sflocal said:
    Where Apple succeeds with AirTags is that the awareness is baked into iOS.  Tile requires an app, and (as I understand it) that app has to be running.  As Tile's market share is next-to nothing, Apple's version will immediately be of more use.  My lost tag can be picked up anonymously by any late-model iPhone and nothing has to be done.  That's huge.

    If it works like I hope it does, I will be buying a 4-pack for sure.  

    I'm only guessing, but I think why Tile is having a hissy-fit is that Apple has the advantage of using any iPhone without an app in order to use it, whereas Tile does not get that privilege.  I don't think it will hold up in court thought.

    I find it ironic that Tile is complaining about having additional competition.  Why isn't Tile complaining about Samsung's similar offering?

    Actually, they can now be used with the "Find My" app, if they so choose.
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 39
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,596member
    Whilst Apple facilitates competition by opening up the FindMy platform, Tile seek to eliminate competitors with legal action. Can’t wait for the counter suit.

    In fact, by forcing Apple into a Windows-like interoperable ecosystem, antitrust laws are actually restricting platform options open to the public. Our choices are no choice at all.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 39
    xyzzy01xyzzy01 Posts: 78member
    daven said:
    Nothing stoped competing products from creating their own apps to find their tags. In fact, they did just that. 

    Sure, but Apple gets a couple of large advantages when deciding to compete in this market:

    1) Both vendors depend on a network of devices to find the tags if they're missing... Tile tags are only searched for by other Tile-owning customers running the same app. Same for other vendors... as long as you don't have a lot of customers, the use will be limited. Apple gets to use all iPhones by default

    2) For detection etc to work for Tile, the users need to run an app in the background. Not only will this probably use a bit more battery etc. than Apple's implementation which will be at the OS level, but Tile's app will also have nag the users about using the location in the background on a regular basis. No such need for Apple's competing, newly launched product.

    I'm obviously not saying that to avoid this, any vendor should be able to run whatever they want in the background and gather data so as to reduce friction with customers - or that any vendor should be able to get their software included in the OS on every iPhone. I'm just pointing out that this - the ability to gain a huge advantage in a new market due to a market position in a different market - is problematic. 

    I don't have a good solution either.
    muthuk_vanalingam
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