Tile says AirTags helped its business, still says Apple is 'unfair'

Posted:
in General Discussion
The CEO of tracking company Tile says that revenues are up "despite the unfair competition" from Apple's equivalent device, AirTags.

Tile
Tile


After Apple released its AirTag tracking system in May 2021, CJ Prober, CEO of existing rival Tile, said his company welcomed the competition. However, "it needs to be fair," and Prober also expressed antitrust concerns.

Now according to Wired, Prober says Tile is doing well against the AirTags. "We've sold over 40 million Tiles," he said. "Revenue was up in the first half of the year."

"Third-party product activations, a big focus of ours, we're up over 200 percent year over year," he continued. "Business is good. We're seeing really strong business momentum -- despite the unfair competition from Apple."

Prober says that it wasn't long ago that you could buy Tile's products on the Apple Store," but then "very quickly, we got kicked out of their stores." He says that Apple made changes to iOS "that deprecated our experience," in favor of AirTags and the Find My network.

"Look at how Apple differentiates AirTags over Tile -- it's all platform capabilities that they've reserved for themselves," he said. "The seamless activation [for example] is not available to third parties."

"Despite all of that," continued Prober, "and despite Apple self-preferencing, business is good -- but, obviously, it's better if we are competing fairly."

Apple told Wired that it denies self-preferencing, or reserving features for its own services, and that it welcomes competition.

"We made APIs available this summer and have been working with UWB chipset developers to ensure iOS compatibility-- some already have development kits available for purchase," an Apple spokesperson said. "We have always embraced competition as the best way to drive great experiences for our customers, and we have worked hard to build a platform in iOS that enables third-party developers to thrive."

As Tile works to refresh its lineup with new devices, Prober thinks his company is also helping the "global momentum" against Apple's actions.

"Look at the legislation that was passed in Korea [and some] of the activities that are happening in the EU," he said. "It's brought an increased passion... and created a rallying cry for our teams."

"Companies that are being similarly situated might be worried about the repercussions of being vocal about these things," continued Prober, "but I'm a believer that we have to do what's right for the future of third-party ecosystems and other developers."

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    When other company will stop point the finger to apple for everything? apple is free to do anything they want with all their products!!if i have my own product i will care for it!!why tile doesn't make some of their product with bactery replaceble??because in few year when you run out of battery you must buy a new one!!!sooo you see??stop blaiming apple for all they do...its only business!!
    Beatsfred1williamlondonDnykjpRfC6fnBsDBSyncmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 40
    Instead of endless whining about this and that how about joining the Find My network, Tile?

    Plus there is the 4 billion strong Android market. It’s not like iPhone market is the only addressable market for Tile.
    Beatscornchippulseimagestwokatmew12StrangersdewmeDBSyncmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 40
    XedXed Posts: 2,457member
    Tile is ridiculous, and yet I am considering getting some Tiles (Costco sells a 4 pack for a good price) over AirTags because Tile doesn't keep letting people in my vehicle know that an AirTag not belong to them is following them. Note: This only occurs when my iPhone is also not in range of the AirTag.

    This isn't to stalk someone, but tracking that I have on my vehicles as a cheap LoJack system. AirTags simply aren't great for preventing theft—only accidental loss/misplacement. Still, I appreciate what Apple is doing and wouldn't want them to change their setup. My use case doesn't trump protecting others.
    pulseimageswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 40
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Would Tile exist without Apple? Probably not. 
    cornchipwilliamlondonpulseimagestwokatmewDBSyncmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 40
    fred1fred1 Posts: 1,104member
    Unbelievable. Apple was under no obligation to sell Tiles and they have every right to stop selling them. Quit whining and find a solution. Likewise Apple has every right to change its OS to favor its own products. Welcome to capitalism and competition. 
    williamlondontwokatmewJinTechDBSyncmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 40
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,766member
    Sniff sniff, thanks for making us a bunch of money, you unfair bastards. Sniff, sniff. 
    stompycornchippulseimagestwokatmewJinTechDBSyncmagman1979igorskywatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 40
    Before AirTags released, Tile was prevented from running in the background one day which meant the app had to be open all the time in order to track. Then incessant warnings popped up that an app was location tracking in the background.  These are not bad alerts and brings awareness to “evil” app activity but also made Tile a lot more hassle to use.  AirTags are exempt from these alerts and limitations. Tile can’t just switch to Apple’s tracking solution because the hardware needs modification.  Competition is great but a simple discussion with Tile and some equitable treatment probably would have benefited both companies and consumers.  This scenario is similar to Microsoft adding utilities to Windows which wiped out whole software industries and led to eventual anti trust lawsuits.  I have both devices and the AirTag has further reach due to the tracking.  But Tiles can be shared which is great for pet tracking. 
    williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 8 of 40
     Tile can’t just switch to Apple’s tracking solution because the hardware needs modification.  Competition is great but a simple discussion with Tile and some equitable treatment probably would have benefited both companies and consumers.  
    So you are saying Apple can't make changes to any of their products unless they are backward compatible with every other company in the world. Or are you worried only about Tile? Does your logic also apply to companies that make silicone cases for iPhones? If not, give me a list of companies that Apple has to remain compatible with. And indicate why you get to make that list up.

    Why don't you just tell Tile to make the hardware modifications?
    stompylkruppmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 40
    ‘Waaaaa!!….’
    its so unfair that they have to compete.
    cornchipwilliamlondonpulseimages12StrangersDBSyncmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 40
    Tile's complaining is weak sauce. What have they done to make their product better? What have they done to differentiate? To compete?
    Amazon Alexa and Google Home show that you need Apple didn't share its technology to win. Oh, but that kind of competitive advantage costs millions in R&D to develop you say? True. I didn't say competing against one of the world's biggest companies would be cheap. Get started, Tile. When Apple started, they started from zero. They were small. They had to compete with the Atari, Commodores, and IBMs of the era. Steve Jobs didn't whine that IBM wasn't sharing its secret sauce, he sought to leapfrog IBM. I don't understand the entitlement these days from companies like Epic and Tile, but whining won't solve their problems.
    Detnatorwilliamlondonurahara12StrangersdewmeDBSyncmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 40
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,083member
    Tile is coming across as a bratty kid.  It's Apple's ecosystem.  Get over it.  

    Amazing how much entitlement that companies like Tile feel they deserve.

    williamlondonpulseimages12StrangersDBSyncmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 40
    If Apple truly wanted to crush Tile all they need to do is introduce an AirTag key ring and wallet version. Personally, I am pretty sure that Apple already has them ready to go but are busy with the switch to AS.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 40
    What tile needs to do is modify their software so that their devices are recognized by Apple‘s find my app. If tile did that, their business would continue to grow in that now you can all correct and recognize their Tiles using Apple‘s app and others will not need to purchase Apple AirTags.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 40
     Tile can’t just switch to Apple’s tracking solution because the hardware needs modification.  Competition is great but a simple discussion with Tile and some equitable treatment probably would have benefited both companies and consumers.  
    So you are saying Apple can't make changes to any of their products unless they are backward compatible with every other company in the world. Or are you worried only about Tile? Does your logic also apply to companies that make silicone cases for iPhones? If not, give me a list of companies that Apple has to remain compatible with. And indicate why you get to make that list up.

    Why don't you just tell Tile to make the hardware modifications?
    I don’t think I said that.  Apple can do what it wants and really does not need to give Tile access to their find functions.  What I AM saying is that Apple didn’t have to make the Tile app so cumbersome that it turned into a terrible app experience.  There are enough differences so people can decide what they want to buy.  
  • Reply 15 of 40
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
     Tile can’t just switch to Apple’s tracking solution because the hardware needs modification.  Competition is great but a simple discussion with Tile and some equitable treatment probably would have benefited both companies and consumers.  
    So you are saying Apple can't make changes to any of their products unless they are backward compatible with every other company in the world. Or are you worried only about Tile? Does your logic also apply to companies that make silicone cases for iPhones? If not, give me a list of companies that Apple has to remain compatible with. And indicate why you get to make that list up.

    Why don't you just tell Tile to make the hardware modifications?
    Did you stop reading after the emboldened part?  They said what they said, not what you said.
  • Reply 16 of 40
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 1,230member
    We make screwdrivers. These other guys make better screwdrivers. That’s unfair. 

    DnykjpRfC6fnBsfred1magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 40
    All I am seeing out of the Tech Leaders today is a bunch of well off woke crybabies. Why isn’t Apple allowed to make a competing product? If you as the other company have faith in your own product, what does it matter? If Apple kicks your @$$ because your product is crap and therefore inferior to what Apple brings to market, that is totally on you and your company. 
    DBSyncmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 40
    Well business is up because Tile is a far better product! Apple fan since the 80’s i rushed to the airtags only to find that if I want to stick it to my bicycle i need a third party add on, if i want to put it with my keys a need to drill a hole in it but what is very limiting is that you can have only 16. Why? Why is that? I have bags, car, bike, kids backpack, umbrellas etc. why limit it? And why 16? Not 31? Or 43? Or 9 and a half? And you cannot share it so
    my son has an air tag in his school pack but I cannot see it and look for it when in the morning we are rushing out and everyone is late. So, all back to Tiles! Waiting for Apple, as usual, to do a better and improved v2…
    AppleUfmyI
  • Reply 19 of 40
    fred1 said:
    Unbelievable. Apple was under no obligation to sell Tiles and they have every right to stop selling them. Quit whining and find a solution. Likewise Apple has every right to change its OS to favor its own products. Welcome to capitalism and competition.
    True, Apple's not obligated to sell Tiles. Their whining about that is a waste of breath.

    On the other hand, it's been established for many decades now that a monopoly platform company can be forced to open that platform to others. There were a number of lawsuits brought against IBM which resulted in a variety of consent decrees (the first big one in 1954, IIRC) and settlements (1969-1975). These required IBM to separate their software from their hardware, such that, for example, customers could buy IBM software to run on non-IBM platforms like Amdahls.

    This kind of result would be the nightmare scenario for Apple. I don't believe it can happen, because I don't think you can establish that their platform is a monopoly, but it's not totally impossible. It is certainly possible that they will be required to open up their platform in various ways, as a cure for overwhelming market power even if they're not a true monopoly. But I think it's more likely we'll see laws about that than successful lawsuits.

    For a much closer parallel to the Tile case, you have the antitrust case against Microsoft that resulted in them being prevented from favoring their own web browser. That would be a near-perfect model for a suit against Apple, and I'm not at all sure it wouldn't succeed. That becomes even more likely if Apple continues to take market share in the US.

    In short, it's not at all clear that, as a matter of settled law, you're right that Apple may use its OS to favor its own products. I have little sympathy for Tile, but you can be sure that Apple feels the same way about it that I do. That's why they were so incredibly careful about making a plausible option for Tile to ride their platform (even if Tile declined).
    muthuk_vanalingamMplsP
  • Reply 20 of 40
    When other company will stop point the finger to apple for everything? apple is free to do anything they want with all their products!!if i have my own product i will care for it!!why tile doesn't make some of their product with bactery replaceble??because in few year when you run out of battery you must buy a new one!!!sooo you see??stop blaiming apple for all they do...its only business!!
    When will Apple fans stop pointing the finger to dozens of companies around the world expressing their concerns towards monopolist tech companies?
    williamlondon
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