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The slow death of Beeper continues, and more senators want to get involved

Beeper Mini

As more users find themselves unable to access Beeper Mini's iMessage bridge, more senators have waded into the matter, with them asking the Department of Justice if Apple's actions constitute antitrust violations.

Once again, Beeper Mini finds itself knocked off the iMessage network, with Apple keen not to allow the Android app access. After an initial takedown by Apple, the app returned to life with some slight issues, but now it's found to be unusable by many users.

Posting to Reddit on Sunday evening, Beeper offered an update to the situation, advising that more than 60% of Beeper Mini and Cloud users weren't able to send or receive iMessages. The team claimed it was "fighting to get this fixed."

For the moment, the team added that users may see emails about a "new Mac" being added to their Apple ID. Beeper insists it doesn't "use Mac servers anymore," but that its bridge appears as if it were a Mac to Apple.

At the time of publication, complete access hasn't been restored.

More senators

Following the entry of Senator Elizabeth Warren into the public fight between Beeper and Apple, more senators have jumped on the bandwagon to attack the iPhone maker over its blocking of Beeper from the iMessage network.

In a joint letter to DoJ Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, four senators and representatives have co-signed a request for an investigation into Apple's "potentially anticompetitive conduct."

The co-signees are Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Representative Ken Buck (R-CO).

The letter briefly recounts the fight, including Apple's admittance of taking action citing security and privacy concerns, before using it to claim Apple was doing so for other reasons.

"Apple executives have previously admitted the company leverages iMessage to lock users into Apple's ecosystem of devices and services," the group writes. "Beeper Mini threatened to reduce this leverage creating more competitive mobile applications market, which in turn a more competitive mobile device market [sic]"

It goes on to reference a Department of Commerce report that described Apple as a "gatekeeper" with a "monopoly position" in the mobile app ecosystem. It also quotes the Department of Commerce as declaring "antitrust enforcement is essential for ensuring competition in the mobile app ecosystem."

There's also an older mention of testimony from Beeper CEO Eric Migicovsky, dating back to a session of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights from December 2015. At the time, Migicovsky was concerned that dominant messaging services would "impose barriers to interoperability and prevent Beeper entering and delivering services that consumers want."

Citing interoperability and interconnection as "key drivers of competition and consumer choice" in various industries, the letter insists consumers "will never benefit from competition if dominant firms are allowed to snuff out that competition at its incipiency."

The lawmakers go on to offer concern that Apple's blocks harm competition and will "discourage future innovation and investment in interoperable messaging services." Therefore, the group refers the matter to the DoJ's antitrust division for an investigation into whether Apple violated antitrust laws.