AirTag rival Tile acquired by location tracking platform Life360 in $205M deal

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2021
Tile, makers of location tracking hardware that competes with Apple's AirTag, has agreed to an acquisition that will see the company become part of location tracking specialist Life360.

Tile


Life360 announced the acquisition on Monday, touting the tie-up as the beginnings of an enhanced cross-platform solution that will enable location-based finding of people, pets and things.

The deal is worth an estimated $205 million and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.

Tile will retain its brand identity and operate under current CEO CJ Prober, who will join Life360's board of directors as part of the arrangement.

"This is a great day for Tile, our customers, and our employees," Prober said in a prepared statement. "This acquisition not only brings together two incredible teams with complementary missions and values, it paves the way for us to jointly build the world's leading solutions for peace of mind and safety."

Combining Life360's service, which provides users with real-time location sharing and geofenced alerts, with Tile's Bluetooth-enabled hardware will help families and individuals stay safe and connected, Life360 says. Location finding for people, pets and things will be offered through Life360's app for iOS and Android.

Tile's Finding Network, a system similar to Apple's Find My network, is estimated to see a tenfold increase in effective reach with the integration of Life360's 33 million users. The network extends the Bluetooth trackers' range by allowing fellow Tile -- and now Life360 -- users to detect nearby devices and send their location information to Tile's servers.

For Life360, the Tile acquisition nets access to some 27,000 retail stores where Tile products are currently sold.

The Tile acquisition follows Life360's purchase of Jiobit, a company that markets cellular-enabled GPS locating devices designed to track children, the elderly and pets.

Once a backer of Apple and its services -- Tile products were previously sold in Apple Stores -- Tile became an outspoken critic of the tech giant when it was clear the iPhone maker would enter the device tracking market. In 2020, Tile offered testimony at a U.S. House Judiciary Committee hearing on Apple's alleged anticompetitive behavior and later that year aired identical accusations in a complaint to the European Commission.

In 2019, the chief executives of Tile and Life360 were signatories of a letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook that decried the tech giant's policies on third-party location tracking software. At the time, Apple's iOS 13 allowed first-party apps to track device location, but placed restrictions on those same features for third-party apps. Developers opposed to the policy alleged a "double standard" was in place that gave Apple a competitive advantage.

Apple aimed to alleviate concerns with the Find My network accessory program, an initiative that makes Find My integration available to Made for iPhone program members.

Tile was in the news last week when Prober said business was "good" despite what he characterized as unfair competition from Apple.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    Maybe now they'll stop pretending competition on the same platform is a "monopoly" and start innovating.
    fred1sconosciutopscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 12
    Still can’t beat the amount of airtags and iPhone network there is! I retired my tile for an airtag and I think a lot of others have done the same. I can’t imagine someone retiring an airtag for a tile.
    edited November 2021 twokatmewwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 12
    Too bad for Tile. About the only way they can compete with Apple's AirTag is to drop their price dramatically and launch a massive ad campaign. Apple devices that can track AirTags are ubiquitous; phones running the Tiles app are not.
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    Tile, ... has agreed to an acquisition ...
    The deal is worth an estimated $205 million and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.
    Tile will retain its brand identity and operate under current CEO CJ Prober, who will join Life360's board of directors as part of the arrangement.
    I'm inferring that the purchase was done with stocks more than cash and that's why Prober would become part of the board of directors for Life360, because now he's one of their largest shareholders.

    I see Life360's market cap is $2.2B. I doubt that Prober's holdings in Life360 is 10% of their market cap, so he probably needed support from other shareholders in Life360 to get onto their board. I'm just speculating.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    When you get your network ready, you should let Apple tap on it for free, because of fair competition. /s
    sconosciutoStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,168member
    So a company like Apple is to be prohibited from developing and selling a product that competes with one that already exists? That’s what Prober appears to be saying. Once someone (Tile) comes up with a product that’s it, no one else can make a competing product? And didn’t this guy just say that AirTags actually helped sales of Tiles but still called Apple unfair? What kind of cognitive dissonance is that? Or is it just the usual Newspeak that CEOs regurgitate at every opportunity? 

    The constant Apple critics have coined the term ’sherlocking’ but when the reverse happens and an Apple product knockoff comes out of China that’s perfectly okay?
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    peteopeteo Posts: 402member
    narwhal said:
    Too bad for Tile. About the only way they can compete with Apple's AirTag is to drop their price dramatically and launch a massive ad campaign. Apple devices that can track AirTags are ubiquitous; phones running the Tiles app are not.
    Well except that airtags do not work with Android and other non apple devices. There are 3 billion active android devices so there is a big market left for tile/life360. It also works with Amazon Sidewalk. There is also Tile embedded , which works with Bluetooth chip manufactures and allows lots of other devices (HP laptops, Fitbits, Headphone, battery packs etc) to track tiles and of course tile works with iOS devices too so, there is really is no down side in having a tile device. Maybe they will decide to join apples Find my network, but I bet the terms make it not worth it. Hopefully life360 can do a good job marketing Tile because apple needs competition. 
    darkvaderXavalonpscooter63williamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 12
    peteo said:
    narwhal said:
    Too bad for Tile. About the only way they can compete with Apple's AirTag is to drop their price dramatically and launch a massive ad campaign. Apple devices that can track AirTags are ubiquitous; phones running the Tiles app are not.
    Well except that airtags do not work with Android and other non apple devices. There are 3 billion active android devices so there is a big market left for tile/life360. It also works with Amazon Sidewalk. There is also Tile embedded , which works with Bluetooth chip manufactures and allows lots of other devices (HP laptops, Fitbits, Headphone, battery packs etc) to track tiles and of course tile works with iOS devices too so, there is really is no down side in having a tile device. Maybe they will decide to join apples Find my network, but I bet the terms make it not worth it. Hopefully life360 can do a good job marketing Tile because apple needs competition. 

    Not how it works. Tile (and others) don’t automatically work on all Android devices. They only work on devices that have their App installed. Which right now is apparently around 33 million users. Literally 1/30th the number of iPhones out there.
    StrangeDayspscooter63williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    peteo said:
    narwhal said:
    Too bad for Tile. About the only way they can compete with Apple's AirTag is to drop their price dramatically and launch a massive ad campaign. Apple devices that can track AirTags are ubiquitous; phones running the Tiles app are not.
    Well except that airtags do not work with Android and other non apple devices. There are 3 billion active android devices so there is a big market left for tile/life360. It also works with Amazon Sidewalk. There is also Tile embedded , which works with Bluetooth chip manufactures and allows lots of other devices (HP laptops, Fitbits, Headphone, battery packs etc) to track tiles and of course tile works with iOS devices too so, there is really is no down side in having a tile device. Maybe they will decide to join apples Find my network, but I bet the terms make it not worth it. Hopefully life360 can do a good job marketing Tile because apple needs competition. 
    Except again for the number of active devices using the network. Maybe I'm ignorant here but it was not my understanding that Tile simply just works with all the billions of android devices in the world, right? I'm willing to bet there are more iPhones in the Apple network than there are devices actively using whatever frameworks you're saying are out there for possible inclusion in the knockoff device world. So ya, there is a down side to having a Tile.
    edited November 2021 williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,701member
    lkrupp said:
    So a company like Apple is to be prohibited from developing and selling a product that competes with one that already exists? That’s what Prober appears to be saying. Once someone (Tile) comes up with a product that’s it, no one else can make a competing product? And didn’t this guy just say that AirTags actually helped sales of Tiles but still called Apple unfair? What kind of cognitive dissonance is that? Or is it just the usual Newspeak that CEOs regurgitate at every opportunity? 

    The constant Apple critics have coined the term ’sherlocking’ but when the reverse happens and an Apple product knockoff comes out of China that’s perfectly okay?
    It's amazing how obtuse people are - Apple can create whatever products they want. The problem arises when they give their own product access to the operating system to give it features and capabilities that other products can't because they lack that access. If Tile has the exact same access to the OS as AirTags do then there's no issue.

    BTW, 'sherlocking' refers to apple adding software capabilities that previously required the purchase of a separate program. The developers hate it because it takes their software market away, but Apple includes the functionality free in the operating system and it doesn't involve any question of unfair access so there are no antitrust concerns. Selling a separate hardware product is an entirely different matter.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 11 of 12
    All your locations are belong to us!
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