DOJ and FTC launch investigation into Apple’s block of Beeper app – what does this mean for consumers?

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating whether Apple violated antitrust laws by blocking Beeper, an unofficial app that allowed Android users access to iMessage. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also considering Apple’s actions.

Beeper, the unofficial app, came up with various workarounds to give Android users access to iMessage, which is only available on Apple devices. Apple, however, consistently declined to make iMessage available on non-Apple devices and took action to block the unofficial app’s attempts to bypass this restriction.

After a bipartisan group of senators called for a DOJ investigation, the department is now looking into the matter. Additionally, the FTC may also be getting involved. The agency’s recent blog post suggests that it is concerned about anticompetitive conduct and is evaluating claims of privacy and data security. The FTC previously stated that security claims by companies should be rejected if found to be a mere pretext for anticompetitive conduct.

Despite the ongoing investigations, it remains unclear whether Apple will be found guilty of an antitrust violation. Apple has maintained that it was taking action to secure its servers against unauthorized access. The company’s actions to block Beeper and its recent announcement about messaging interoperability requirements raise questions about the potential outcome of the investigations.

The cat-and-mouse game between Beeper and Apple ultimately ended with Beeper admitting defeat, highlighting the challenges of achieving interoperability between different messaging platforms.

The DOJ’s investigation and the potential involvement of the FTC signal a growing concern about the impact of anticompetitive behavior and the need for interoperability in the tech industry. The outcome of these investigations could have significant implications for how tech companies approach their products’ compatibility and access across different platforms.