The slow death of Beeper continues, and more senators want to get involved

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in iOS

As more users find themselves unable to access Beeper Mini's iMessage bridge, more senators have waded into the matter, with them asking the Department of Justice if Apple's actions constitute antitrust violations.

Beeper Mini
Beeper Mini



Once again, Beeper Mini finds itself knocked off the iMessage network, with Apple keen not to allow the Android app access. After an initial takedown by Apple, the app returned to life with some slight issues, but now it's found to be unusable by many users.

Posting to Reddit on Sunday evening, Beeper offered an update to the situation, advising that more than 60% of Beeper Mini and Cloud users weren't able to send or receive iMessages. The team claimed it was "fighting to get this fixed."

For the moment, the team added that users may see emails about a "new Mac" being added to their Apple ID. Beeper insists it doesn't "use Mac servers anymore," but that its bridge appears as if it were a Mac to Apple.

At the time of publication, complete access hasn't been restored.

More senators



Following the entry of Senator Elizabeth Warren into the public fight between Beeper and Apple, more senators have jumped on the bandwagon to attack the iPhone maker over its blocking of Beeper from the iMessage network.

In a joint letter to DoJ Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, four senators and representatives have co-signed a request for an investigation into Apple's "potentially anticompetitive conduct."

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 pic.twitter.com/pj6ef432TK

-- Jo Ling Kent (@jolingkent)



The co-signees are Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Representative Ken Buck (R-CO).

The letter briefly recounts the fight, including Apple's admittance of taking action citing security and privacy concerns, before using it to claim Apple was doing so for other reasons.

"Apple executives have previously admitted the company leverages iMessage to lock users into Apple's ecosystem of devices and services," the group writes. "Beeper Mini threatened to reduce this leverage creating more competitive mobile applications market, which in turn a more competitive mobile device market [sic]"

It goes on to reference a Department of Commerce report that described Apple as a "gatekeeper" with a "monopoly position" in the mobile app ecosystem. It also quotes the Department of Commerce as declaring "antitrust enforcement is essential for ensuring competition in the mobile app ecosystem."

There's also an older mention of testimony from Beeper CEO Eric Migicovsky, dating back to a session of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights from December 2015. At the time, Migicovsky was concerned that dominant messaging services would "impose barriers to interoperability and prevent Beeper entering and delivering services that consumers want."

Citing interoperability and interconnection as "key drivers of competition and consumer choice" in various industries, the letter insists consumers "will never benefit from competition if dominant firms are allowed to snuff out that competition at its incipiency."

The lawmakers go on to offer concern that Apple's blocks harm competition and will "discourage future innovation and investment in interoperable messaging services." Therefore, the group refers the matter to the DoJ's antitrust division for an investigation into whether Apple violated antitrust laws.


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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,257member
    Anti-competitive? I simply see Beeper as being malware. It’s software that disguises itself as real Messages, something that it isn’t. It’s time for members of Congress to go back to school and take some computer classes. It’s also time these self-proclaimed champions for people (actually anti-Apple people) take some computer security classes to understand what Beeper is doing. I see it as a Trojan horse, faking what they really are. 
    Anilu_777williamhAndy.HardwaketimpetuslordjohnwhorfindanoxJaiOh81Alex1Nwilliamlondonchasm
  • Reply 2 of 32
    Beeper basically seems like a man-in-the-middle attack disguised as a feature. It intercepts secure messages and makes them readable. 

    Thank you Apple for fixing this as soon as possible. 
    Anilu_777quakerotiswilliamhAndy.HardwaketimpetuslordjohnwhorfindanoxJaiOh81Alex1Nwilliamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 32
    Congresspeople are SO dumb. Apple is protecting its property and me. I don’t want random apps to have access to Apple servers and neither do they. That’s a major security hole and I hope Apple locks it down for good. 
    williamhAndy.HardwaketimpetusdanoxJaiOh81Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 32
    This entire thing is ridiculous and makes my head hurt. 

    Let’s ignore that the developers reverse-engineered Message and then decided to hijack Apple’s system and bypass Apple’s security for the sole purpose of allowing Android users to show as blue bubbles. This is the goal. Blue bubbles for a platform that is the vast majority of the market, at over 70% of all mobile systems. iOS is maybe 20%. This is peak First World Problems, and maybe Android users should just bask in their market dominance and stop being salty that a company that doesn’t allow much customization for their own customers is not letting non-customers customize. 

    But for the developers of Beeper to position that iOS users are too stupid to use another messaging service, or that you can’t set a “default" is hot garbage. Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp all install without issue on iOS devices, as does Facebook Messenger. Messaging apps don’t need to be set to default. Just put the d*mnded app on your dock, and arrange with your friends which messaging app to use. The whole hair on fire is that Android’s default text messaging app and iOS’s  default text messaging app have minor, trivial hiccups when interacting with each other, and if that’s an issue to the point you are raging to senators about it, you really need to go touch grass. And if you’re one of those people who, apparently, “bubble shame," you also need to go touch grass, and on your way, go pound sand. To those of you who are being “shamed” for the color of your text bubble, you need to find better friends.

    And to consider this “anti-trust”? Are you kidding me? You’re going to argue with me that it is anti-competitive that someone’s chat bubble is green and doesn’t have the identical cosmetics? This is the bar? Let’s ignore Amazon’s anticompetitive practices, which have shut down thousands of small business shops. Let’s ignore Microsoft shutting down Mac games from studios they acquired. Let’s ignore Disney owning almost the entire entertainment industry. No. The hill to die on is: green chat bubbles. I can’t even.

    Every time this Beeper thing hits my feed my blood pressure just goes through the roof. This is such a colossal non-issue. You can absolutely text between Message and Android’s default text message app. You can absolutely communicate clearly and without obstruction. You can absolutely create “mixed platform” text groups. You have 98% cross functionality. And if security is your concern, use Signal or Telegram.


    Pancakeauxiofreeassociate2muthuk_vanalingamAndy.HardwaketimpetusbadmonkAlex1NStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 32
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,737member
    Really makes me wonder who's funding them. To generate this kind of media hype and political interest in something so insignificant reeks of well-connected investors.

    How about we investigate why tech companies which truly innovate and create new products/services that are of benefit to people can't generate as much interest as a company which reverse engineers and clones an existing product?
    Andy.HardwaketimpetusAlex1NwilliamlondonStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 32
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,285member
    araquen said:
    This entire thing is ridiculous and makes my head hurt. 

    Let’s ignore that the developers reverse-engineered Message and then decided to hijack Apple’s system and bypass Apple’s security for the sole purpose of allowing Android users to show as blue bubbles. This is the goal. Blue bubbles for a platform that is the vast majority of the market, at over 70% of all mobile systems. iOS is maybe 20%. 

    This would be a US issue, the world marketshare being inconsequential. In the US one single company holds the majority of the market, approaching 60%, with a dozen+ Android device manufacturers all competing for the roughly 40% leftovers.   

    But otherwise, all this uproar about Beeper is silly. Unfortunately for Apple, the timing is bad with so much attention on other big techs and antitrust. It only serves as legislative approval for Apple to be dragged before competition authorities, which is what will happen IMO. There's simply too much smoke for it to be avoided.
    edited December 2023 muthuk_vanalingamAndy.HardwakeAlex1N
  • Reply 7 of 32
    Android users were unable to securely communicate with iMessage users and were relegated to using decades-old, unencrypted SMS technology.

    So not true. Those senators and members of Congress and their staffers would surely know that Android and iOS users can safely communicate with one another using Signal or even WhatsApp. 
    timpetuslordjohnwhorfinAlex1Nchasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 32
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,285member
    Android users were unable to securely communicate with iMessage users and were relegated to using decades-old, unencrypted SMS technology.

    So not true. Those senators and members of Congress and their staffers would surely know that Android and iOS users can safely communicate with one another using Signal or even WhatsApp. 
    But not someone using iMessage, the predominant messaging service in the US and the one Android owners cannot securely and privately message with. The statement you quoted is accurate.  Remember that with US antitrust, the US market share and the effects on it matters, not the EU or Asia users' experiences and 3rd party app usage.
    edited December 2023 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 9 of 32
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,422member
    So they have time in their schedules to delve into technical minutiae affecting almost nobody but not enough time to actually do the jobs they were hired by the voters to do. Priorities must mean nothing to them. 
    lordjohnwhorfinsbdudeAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 32
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,737member
    gatorguy said:
    Android users were unable to securely communicate with iMessage users and were relegated to using decades-old, unencrypted SMS technology.

    So not true. Those senators and members of Congress and their staffers would surely know that Android and iOS users can safely communicate with one another using Signal or even WhatsApp. 
    But not someone using iMessage, the predominant messaging service in the US and the one Android owners cannot securely and privately message with. The statement you quoted is accurate.  Remember that with US antitrust, the US market share and the effects on it matters, not the EU or Asia users' experiences and 3rd party app usage.
    They can message each other, just not securely unless they use other technologies. For the first couple of decades of cellular communication, nearly all text messaging was insecure. If government officials wanted security, they used proprietary technology. And they didn't seem to have a problem with that. Now suddenly it's a problem?

    Again, I question the motivation behind this. If government officials deem that it's in the public interest to have secure messaging between all mobile platforms, then why don't they invest in the technology and mandate it? The same way the government (via military funding) created the internet and the open standards it's based on.

    Alex1Nwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 32
    I'm just amused by the government calling for MORE encryption.
    Alex1Nwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 32
    Can Android users send messages to iPhone users? Yes. Oh, ok. Case over.
    williamlondon9secondkox2watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 32
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,971member
    auxio said:
    Really makes me wonder who's funding them. To generate this kind of media hype and political interest in something so insignificant reeks of well-connected investors.

    How about we investigate why tech companies which truly innovate and create new products/services that are of benefit to people can't generate as much interest as a company which reverse engineers and clones an existing product?
    Russia, Ukraine, China, and Israel are the usual suspects in state sponsored computer hacking, the USA is a distant number five in comparison.
    edited December 2023 watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 32
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,285member
    auxio said:
    Really makes me wonder who's funding them. To generate this kind of media hype and political interest in something so insignificant reeks of well-connected investors.
    It could be a grass-roots effort.
    https://www.reddit.com/r/beeper/comments/18fx8su/email_your_senator_to_voice_your_concern_about/
    Alex1N
  • Reply 15 of 32
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,737member
    gatorguy said:
    auxio said:
    Really makes me wonder who's funding them. To generate this kind of media hype and political interest in something so insignificant reeks of well-connected investors.
    It could be a grass-roots effort.
    https://www.reddit.com/r/beeper/comments/18fx8su/email_your_senator_to_voice_your_concern_about/
    If so, then it's a sad statement that grass-roots efforts behind things which truly matter in people's lives like access to affordable housing, healthcare, and education can't generate the same reaction. But there certainly appears to be an extra financial and/or political incentive behind this since, as I said, an easy (but not profitable) solution would be to just have an open, publicly developed secure messaging technology which all phones sold in the US must have built-in. Signal is a registered non-profit, so perhaps working with them on it would make sense.
    williamlondonStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 32
    davidwdavidw Posts: 2,072member
    gatorguy said:
    araquen said:
    This entire thing is ridiculous and makes my head hurt. 

    Let’s ignore that the developers reverse-engineered Message and then decided to hijack Apple’s system and bypass Apple’s security for the sole purpose of allowing Android users to show as blue bubbles. This is the goal. Blue bubbles for a platform that is the vast majority of the market, at over 70% of all mobile systems. iOS is maybe 20%. 

    This would be a US issue, the world marketshare being inconsequential. In the US one single company holds the majority of the market, approaching 60%, with a dozen+ Android device manufacturers all competing for the roughly 40% leftovers.   

    But otherwise, all this uproar about Beeper is silly. Unfortunately for Apple, the timing is bad with so much attention on other big techs and antitrust. It only serves as legislative approval for Apple to be dragged before competition authorities, which is what will happen IMO. There's simply too much smoke for it to be avoided.

    Just because Apple devices have over 50% of the  mobile market have nothing to do with iMessage marketshare in the messaging service market. You can't claim that every person that owns an Apple device, uses iMessage and only iMessage (for their messaging needs)? That can't be possible because iMessage can only message other Apple devices. Which means that Apple device users must use another messaging service to message Android device users. Apple Messages is the default SMS messaging service that Apple device users can use to message Android users but there are also Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram and other cross platform messaging service. So when it comes to messaging service market, the sum is greater than 100% of all the mobile devices because most mobile device owner uses more than one messaging service. So unless every mobile device owner uses only one messaging service, it is irrelevant what market share Apple devices have in the US. 

    Facebook Messenger has the largest messaging service market share in the US. (And they have 0% of the mobile device market) iMessage only have about 35% of the US messaging service market share. Not even close to the nearly 60% (that you claim) of Apple device market share. The US (and maybe the UK) are the only markets where iMessage is more popular than WhatsApp.



    You clearly don't understand the dynamics of competition for smartphone sales. In 2023, about 30M smartphones were sold (in the US) each quarter. Both Apple and Android device manufacturer are fighting for those 30M smartphone sales, each and every quarter. To say that Android manufacturers can only sell to 12M (40%) of the consumers buying a smartphones each quarter is ludicrous. The 60/40 split is the number calculated after the sales, (in the quarter), not predetermined before any sales. No way do Android manufacturers only have access to just 40% of the US consumers buying a smartphone every quarter. Every Android manufacturer and Apple, are competing for those 30M US consumers buying a smartphone every quarter. You can't say that Apple have no competition selling to 60% of them and therefore, Android manufacturers can only compete for the leftover 40%. I can guarantee you that Samsung is competing, along with all the other Android manufacturers, for sales to all those 30M buyers each quarter (in the US) and not just the 40% "leftover".




    Alex1Nwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 32
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,737member
    danox said:
    auxio said:
    Really makes me wonder who's funding them. To generate this kind of media hype and political interest in something so insignificant reeks of well-connected investors.

    How about we investigate why tech companies which truly innovate and create new products/services that are of benefit to people can't generate as much interest as a company which reverse engineers and clones an existing product?
    Russia, Ukraine, China, and Israel are the usual suspects in state sponsored computer hacking, the USA is a distant number five in comparison.
    Every country acts in its own best interest, including the US. But that's irrelevant to this discussion. This isn't about hacking, it's about a company trying to defend a reverse engineered product under the guise of freedom, and somehow generating all sorts of publicity from it. If they really cared about freedom (and not the almighty dollar), they'd work with the government and carriers to create change, not do it with scam technology.
    Alex1NStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 32
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,285member
    davidw said:
    gatorguy said:
    araquen said:
    This entire thing is ridiculous and makes my head hurt. 

    Let’s ignore that the developers reverse-engineered Message and then decided to hijack Apple’s system and bypass Apple’s security for the sole purpose of allowing Android users to show as blue bubbles. This is the goal. Blue bubbles for a platform that is the vast majority of the market, at over 70% of all mobile systems. iOS is maybe 20%. 

    This would be a US issue, the world marketshare being inconsequential. In the US one single company holds the majority of the market, approaching 60%, with a dozen+ Android device manufacturers all competing for the roughly 40% leftovers.   

    But otherwise, all this uproar about Beeper is silly. Unfortunately for Apple, the timing is bad with so much attention on other big techs and antitrust. It only serves as legislative approval for Apple to be dragged before competition authorities, which is what will happen IMO. There's simply too much smoke for it to be avoided.

    Just because Apple devices have over 50% of the  mobile market have nothing to do with iMessage marketshare in the messaging service market. You can't claim that every person that owns an Apple device, uses iMessage and only iMessage (for their messaging needs)? That can't be possible because iMessage can only message other Apple devices. Which means that Apple device users must use another messaging service to message Android device users. Apple Messages is the default SMS messaging service that Apple device users can use to message Android users but there are also Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram and other cross platform messaging service. So when it comes to messaging service market, the sum is greater than 100% of all the mobile devices because most mobile device owner uses more than one messaging service. So unless every mobile device owner uses only one messaging service, it is irrelevant what market share Apple devices have in the US. 

    Facebook Messenger has the largest messaging service market share in the US. (And they have 0% of the mobile device market) iMessage only have about 35% of the US messaging service market share. Not even close to the nearly 60% (that you claim) of Apple device market share. The US (and maybe the UK) are the only markets where iMessage is more popular than WhatsApp.



    You clearly don't understand the dynamics of competition for smartphone sales. In 2023, about 30M smartphones were sold (in the US) each quarter. Both Apple and Android device manufacturer are fighting for those 30M smartphone sales, each and every quarter. To say that Android manufacturers can only sell to 12M (40%) of the consumers buying a smartphones each quarter is ludicrous. The 60/40 split is the number calculated after the sales, (in the quarter), not predetermined before any sales. No way do Android manufacturers only have access to just 40% of the US consumers buying a smartphone every quarter. Every Android manufacturer and Apple, are competing for those 30M US consumers buying a smartphone every quarter. You can't say that Apple have no competition selling to 60% of them and therefore, Android manufacturers can only compete for the leftover 40%. I can guarantee you that Samsung is competing, along with all the other Android manufacturers, for sales to all those 30M buyers each quarter (in the US) and not just the 40% "leftover".




    That's a well-researched post. Had I claimed that iMessage, the catch-all name nearly all of us use instead of Apple Messages, held nearly 60% of the market your response would be more meaningful. What I said was that Apple's iPhone holds nearly 60% of the US market, not the 20% the OP claimed. :)  That's meaningful...
    to competition authorities. 

    Thanks though for the mention of Facebook Messenger. I'm not a Facebook user so I'd never have considered it as an option, but I guess a lot of people do. 




    edited December 2023 Alex1N
  • Reply 19 of 32
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,342member
    gatorguy said:
    But not someone using iMessage, the predominant messaging service in the US and the one Android owners cannot securely and privately message with. The statement you quoted is accurate.  Remember that with US antitrust, the US market share and the effects on it matters, not the EU or Asia users' experiences and 3rd party app usage.
    iMessage is NOT the predominant messaging service in the US, and this is where your entire argument falls down. According to Statista, FB Messenger, FaceTime*, and WhatsApp are all more popular, with FB Messanger strongly dominant (81%).

    Source: https://www.statista.com/forecasts/997099/most-used-messenger-by-brand-in-the-us

    *yes, Android owners can join a FaceTime chat if the originator gives them a web link.

    Android users can OPT to securely message with iPhone users by a variety of third-party options, and as soon as RCS adopts E2EE as Apple has proposed, this security facade you and your paymasters are pushing will be a non-issue, because RCS will be secure.

    But messages from Android will still be an ugly green, because Apple can pick any colour they want non-Apple messages to be.


    StrangeDayswilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 32
    gatorguy said:
    Thanks though for the mention of Facebook Messenger. I'm not a Facebook user so I'd never have considered it as an option, but I guess a lot of people do. 
    Nearly 200 million in the US and over 1 billion worldwide use Facebook Messenger (and a I would wager that many of them are iPhone users).

    My wife is an iPhone user and she uses iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger.

    I’m an iPhone user and I use iMessage and WhatsApp.
    edited December 2023 williamlondonwatto_cobra
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