FCC Commissioner Calls For Investigation Into Apple’s Blocking Of Beeper Mini


FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has urged the agency to launch an investigation into Apple’s recent decision to block the Beeper Mini service, which aimed to enable iMessage functionality on Android devices. This move has sparked concerns regarding accessibility and competition in the realm of communication services.

Key Takeaway

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has called for an investigation into Apple’s blocking of the Beeper Mini service, citing concerns related to accessibility and competition in communication services.

Apple’s Decision and Beeper Mini

In December, Beeper, a service developed by Pebble founder Eric Migicovsky, introduced Beeper Mini, which sought to facilitate iMessage usage on Android by reverse-engineering the iMessage stack. However, Apple repeatedly blocked Beeper Mini, leading to the service ultimately discontinuing its efforts to enable iMessage on Android, citing the challenges as “unsustainable.

Call for Investigation

Commissioner Carr emphasized the need to examine Apple’s actions in light of the FCC’s Part 14 rules, which emphasize the accessibility and usability of “advanced communications services” for individuals with disabilities. Carr highlighted the importance of ensuring that such services are accessible to all, including those with disabilities.

Antitrust and Competition Concerns

Besides the accessibility aspect, Carr also pointed to broader antitrust and competition concerns surrounding Apple’s actions. He noted that while Apple’s practices warrant scrutiny from antitrust and competition agencies, the FCC should specifically assess this incident in the context of its Part 14 rules.

Regulatory Attention and Response

Apple’s decision has attracted attention from various quarters. A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers previously urged the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Apple’s treatment of Beeper, citing potential anticompetitive behavior. Additionally, Senator Elizabeth Warren has criticized Apple’s actions, emphasizing the significance of interoperability and interconnections in fostering competition and consumer choice in communication services.

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