Following the release of Apple's AirTag tracking device, the CEO of its chief rival, Tile, has been telling Bloomberg TV how his company and its users have been put at a disadvantage.
"We welcome competition from Apple," said CJ Prober, "but we think it needs to be fair."
Prober said that when Apple launched its updated Find My app in 2019, it also "made a number of changes [that made it] very difficult for our customers to enable Tile."
He claimed that once users had installed and enabled Tile, there were also new changes to Apple's iOS notification system "that basically made it seem like Tile was broken."
"If you look at the history between Tile and Apple," says Prober, "we had a very symbiotic relationship. They sold Tile in their stores, we were highlighted in 2019 at their Worldwide Developers Conference."
"Basically [now] the main points of differentiation of AirTags vis a vis Tile, are [unique] to platform capabilities that we don't have access to," he said. "Seamless activation [is an example], and another is Ultra Wideband."
Prober says that Tile has been pressing to get developer access to Apple's U1 Ultra Wideband processor, "and have been denied."
"Apple does not need to take advantage of its monopoly position, the App Store and the iPhone, [or] enable advantages that only they can partake in," continued Prober. "They can make those [platform] advantages available to all companies so we can compete on a level playing field."
The future of Tile
Nonetheless, Prober claims that Tile is confident of its future. "The good news is that Tile is very well positioned, we've got a super differentiated product cross platform," he said. "We have many more factors, you don't need an accessory to attach it to your things, we're louder, we've got better range."
"So we have a lot going for us from a product perspective," he continued, "but we don't feel we should be competing in the way we are Apple. This is much broader than Tile, this is about long term consumer choice."
"I would encourage listeners to go to the App Store Senate hearing," said Prober, "[and] read our testimony, read the testimony from Spotify. We should be competing fairly, with no excessive taxes on developers."
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