Ever since the rumor mill started talking about AirTags, Apple’s now official item finder, Tile has raised concerns over Apple’s business practices. And sure enough, now that Apple’s made the AirTag the real deal, Tile is raising concerns yet again.
As first reported today by TechCrunch, Tile’s CEO CJ Prober bashed Apple for moving into yet another market created by a separate company. In this case, Tile essentially launched the item tracking market, and, since then, has become the dominant leader in that space. However, Tile sees Apple’s move as one that it can charge ahead simply by owning iOS and the Find My network, first-party efforts that give AirTag a leg up on the competition.
In a public statement on the matter, Prober starts off with Tile’s accomplishments, saying Tile “pioneered” the method of finding lost or misplaced items.
From the statement:
Our mission is to solve the everyday pain point of finding lost and misplaced things and we are flattered to see Apple, one of the most valuable companies in the world, enter and validate the category Tile pioneered.
Apple’s own AirTag features elements like ultra-wideband technology support thanks to Apple’s U1 chip. This makes it possible for more precise item tracking. While Tile is reportedly working on something similar, Apple essentially beat the company to the punch — and Samsung beat Apple. But, Tile still sees Apple’s ecosystem and first-party support as a major advantage over the competition. Simply put, Tile does not believe Apple’s competition is fair:
We welcome competition, as long as it is fair competition. Unfortunately, given Apple’s well documented history of using its platform advantage to unfairly limit competition for its products, we’re skeptical. And given our prior history with Apple, we think it is entirely appropriate for Congress to take a closer look at Apple’s business practices specific to its entry into this category. We welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues further in front of Congress tomorrow.
As noted just above, Tile, among other companies, are going to testify in front of Congress regarding Apple’s business practices, among other topics. Tile’s CEO is simply forging ahead with another public statement bashing Apple ahead of that testimony.
The letter’s mid-section reads:
The reason so many people turn to Tile to locate their lost or misplaced items is because of the differentiated value we offer our consumers. In addition to providing an industry leading set of features via our app that works with iOS and Android devices, our service is seamlessly integrated with all major voice assistants, including Alexa and Google. And with form factors for every use case and many different styles at affordable prices, there is a Tile for everyone.
Tile has also successfully partnered with top brands like HP, Intel, Skullcandy, and fitbit to enable our finding technology in mass market consumer categories like laptops, earbuds, and wearables. With over 30 partners, we look forward to extending the benefits of Tile to millions of customers and enabling an experience that helps you keep track of all your important belongings.
Tile recently launched a subscription service that actually offers a course for reimbursement of lost items, up to $1,000, depending on circumstances. And the company recently joined with Spotify, Epic Games, and other companies to form the “Coalition for App Fairness“, aiming to take the fight against Apple on a more united front.
Apple unveiled the AirTag item tracker earlier today. It will be available sometime in May.
It’s also worth noting that Apple launched third-party support for its Find My network earlier this month. Part of that announcement included the Chipolo ONE Spot item tracker adding support for Apple’s Find My — another direct competitor to Tile.