Forced closure of Beeper Mini: FCC wants to investigate Apple’s behavior

Forced closure of Beeper Mini: FCC wants to investigate Apple's behavior

In recent months we have closely followed the long-distance tug-of-war between David and Goliath. By acquiring information on the secrets of how iMessage works, the client of Apple messaging, the Beeper startup managed in a short time to develop an application that – without using tricks – communicated directly with Apple’s servers and allowed messages to be exchanged from one platform to another. In particular, messages sent by smartphone Android to iPhone terminals, were no longer confined to a “green bubble”. They appeared to the recipients as if the communications had been sent from Apple devices, therefore within blue bubbles.

Initially distributed for a fee, Beeper Mini became free and tried to respond blow for blow to the countermeasures put in place by Apple. In the end, however, the Beeper Mini developers had to throw in the towel: “we want to fight for what we believe is a fantastic product (…); But the truth is that we cannot win in a cat and mouse game with the largest company in the world“.

The measures implemented by Apple also led to some unexpected consequences: users who had previously used Beeper Mini found themselves with iMessage blocked on macOS. The solution, fortunately, was simple to implement but the malfunction found on macOS highlighted, if it were still needed, how determined the company led by Tim Cook was to knock out Beeper Mini, an app evidently considered as a real thorn in my side.

The US FCC intends to examine Apple’s behavior towards Beeper Mini

A new chapter could soon be added to the stimulating battle between Beeper and Apple. The president of Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Brendan Carrwants to see clearly and urges the US Authority to launch a formal investigation into Apple’s actions which effectively led to the closure of Beeper Mini.

The FCC is responsible for testing and licensing radio spectrum as well as overseeing telecommunications (cable, telephone and satellite) as well as traffic to and from the US.

During a conference on the state of the networks, the chairman of the FCC said he was determined to open a case against Apple because he believes the company violated the rules governing “advanced communications services”. The section of the telecommunications regulation that Carr refers to focuses on access to advanced communications services and equipment by people with disabilities.

Providers of advanced communications services may not implement features, functions or capabilities that impede accessibility or usability.

The theses of the president of the FCC and the possible intervention of the Antitrust

Carr states that Apple, with the expedient of bowl value in which messages from devices are contained Android, would have made it difficult for people with sight problems or visual difficulties to receive and manage communications. He further stated that the various Apple bubbles are “part of a broader set of walled garden practices that complicate free competition“.

On the other hand, Beeper’s work has shown that there are no technical limitations that prevent the normal flow of information between Android and iOS, exactly as happens with communications between Apple devices.

It is not the first time that the “Beeper incident” has aroused more than a few criticisms: in mid-December 2023, a group of senators signed a request bipartisan asking the Department of Justice whether Apple had broken antitrust laws by forcing Beeper Mini to cease operations.

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