Bluetooth accessory maker Tile has written to the European Union accusing Apple of abuse of power and of illegally favoring its own products.
According to a report by Financial Times, in a letter sent on Tuesday to the European Commissioner for Competition, the accessory maker said that Apple is making it harder for users to use Tile products on iPhone because it has its own rival Find My app.
In a letter sent to European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager on Tuesday, California-based tracking app maker Tile argued that Apple was making it more difficult for users to operate its product on their smartphones compared to Apple’s own rival application, FindMy, by selectively disabling features that allow for seamless user experience.
Tile asked the EU to investigate Apple’s business practices, echoing previous calls by the accessory maker in the United States. Specifically, Tile complains about changes Apple made to location services in iOS 13, which encourage customers not to use always-on location tracking. In addition, Tile said changing these options involves navigating between “complex settings not easy to find.”
The report notes that Apple is also rumored to be launching its own AirTags item tracking tags soon. MacRumors uncovered evidence of AirTags within iOS 13 code last year. The tags will be closely integrated with the new Find My app, which will be getting an “Items” tab. Users will receive a notification when they are separated from a tagged item, and if necessary, they can set an AirTag to start making sounds to help locate the lost item.
In the letter, Tile goes on to claim that its product is being denied “equal placement” on the App Store and that Apple has terminated its agreement to sell Tile products in its retail stores, perhaps with one eye on launch of AirTags.
Apple responded to the letter with the following statement:
“We strenuously deny the allegations of uncompetitive behavior that Tile is waging against us. Consistent with the critical path we’ve been on for over a decade, last year we introduced further privacy protections that safeguard user location data. Tile doesn’t like those decisions so instead of arguing the issue on its merits, they’ve instead decided to launch meritless attacks.”
The EU has said it intends to reply to Tile’s letter and will launch preliminary investigations following the allegations.