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FCC Probes Apple for Alleged Antitrust Behavior Amid Beeper Mini Shutdown

 |  February 13, 2024

Apple finds itself under intense scrutiny as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner, Brendan Carr, launches an investigation into the company’s recent actions surrounding the shutdown of Beeper Mini, a service that allowed Android users to access iMessage.

The scuffle between Apple and Beeper Mini has attracted significant attention, including that of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who raised concerns about potential antitrust behavior. Now, with Beeper Mini officially shuttered, Carr has dived into the fray, examining whether Apple’s actions comply with FCC regulations.

During the State of the Net Conference on Monday, Carr announced his intent to investigate Apple’s compliance with the FCC’s Part 14 rules. These rules set forth requirements for “advanced communications service,” such as iMessage, to ensure accessibility.

Carr’s concerns stem from Apple’s role in shutting down Beeper Mini and whether it violated FCC rules that prohibit providers from installing network features that impede accessibility or usability. One specific concern highlighted by Carr is the low contrast of green bubbles in iMessage, which could pose challenges for users with low vision.

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“Apple made changes to iMessage to disable the functionality of Beeper Mini,” Carr stated. “The FCC should launch an investigation to look at whether Apple’s decision to degrade the Beeper Mini functionality that was being provided, which again, encouraged accessibility and usability, was a step that violated the FCC’s rules.”

This investigation adds to the growing list of antitrust inquiries against Apple by the U.S. government. The tech giant faces increasing scrutiny over its business practices, particularly regarding its control over its ecosystem and treatment of third-party services.

As the investigation unfolds, the tech industry watches closely, with the outcome likely to have far-reaching implications for Apple’s approach to competition and innovation. Apple has yet to respond publicly to the FCC commissioner’s remarks or the investigation.

Source: WCCF Tech