Apple is facing regulatory pressure following its move to shut down access to the Beeper Mini app, which briefly offered iMessage services on Android phones. US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner Brendan Carr has called for an investigation into Apple’s decision, questioning its compliance with FCC’s Part 14 rules, particularly in relation to accommodating users with disabilities.
Speaking at the ‘State of the Net Conference,’ Carr emphasized the need for the FCC to examine whether Apple’s actions violated the rules regarding accessibility, usability, and compatibility. The Beeper Mini app aimed to bridge the gap between iOS and Android messaging, challenging Apple’s “blue bubble – green bubble” division.
Launched last year, Beeper Mini provided Android users with access to iMessage features. However, Apple blocked Beeper Mini users and actively prevented the app from functioning. Carr highlighted that Apple’s modifications to iMessage deliberately disabled the functionality of Beeper Mini, raising concerns about accessibility and competition.
The FCC’s Part 14 rules outline requirements for “advanced communications services,” such as iMessage, to ensure they are accessible. Carr argued that Apple’s actions have negative consequences, warranting scrutiny not only from antitrust and competition agencies but also under the FCC’s accessibility rules.
As regulatory pressure mounts, Apple is yet to respond to Carr’s call for an investigation into the Beeper Mini incident. The ongoing debate raises questions about Apple’s broader exclusionary practices and their impact on competition within the tech industry.