Congress demands DOJ probe Apple’s obstruction of Beeper iMessage app

Apple’s move to cut off Beeper, the app that brought iMessage to Android users, already caught the attention of U.S. Of Commerce had earlier this year described Apple as a “gatekeeper” with a “monopoly position” in its mobile app ecosystem. Earlier this month, Beeper debuted an app called Beeper Mini, which leveraged new technology to bring support for blue bubble iMessage chats to Android users. Though the company was able to get a fix rolled out, Apple once again targeted Beeper’s users, deliberately blocking messages for about 5% of users, the company said. Lots more to come this week,” said Migicovsky, in a post on X about the letter, reported first by CBS Mornings in a segment about the Beeper app.

Apple’s controversial decision to cut off the Beeper messaging app for Android users sparked concern from U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who accused the tech giant of anticompetitive behavior. Now, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to launch an investigation into Apple’s potential anticompetitive treatment of Beeper Mini.

“Interoperability and interconnections have long been key drivers of competition and consumer choice in communications services.”

The joint letter, addressed to U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kanter and signed by Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Mike Lee, Representative Jerry Nadler, and Representative Ken Buck, references the Dept. of Commerce’s previous description of Apple as a “gatekeeper” with a “monopoly position” in its app ecosystem. The lawmakers also cite testimony from Beeper CEO Eric Migicovsky, who expressed concerns in 2015 about dominant messaging services using their power to block competitors.

“Given Apple’s recent actions, that concern appears prescient,” the letter states.

Due to the potential anticompetitive nature of Apple’s decisions, the lawmakers have requested that the Dept. of Justice’s Antitrust Division further investigate the matter.

This is not the first battle between startup Beeper and Apple. Earlier this month, Beeper launched the Beeper Mini app, which allowed Android users to access blue bubble iMessage chats through new technology. As development continued, Beeper’s older app was rebranded as Beeper Cloud with the intention of eventually moving all users to the newer app.

Initially charging $1.99 per month for the service, Beeper eventually made Beeper Mini free as Apple began to block its ability to deliver messages. However, even after a fix was implemented, Apple once again targeted Beeper and intentionally blocked messages for 5% of its users.

Apple claimed that Beeper’s methods posed risks to user security and privacy, which is why it took steps to “protect” its users from potential exposure to metadata and spam. In response, Beeper founder and CEO Eric Migicovsky, who previously founded Pebble, challenged Apple to an independent third-party security audit of the app to prove its end-to-end encryption. However, Apple has yet to accept this offer.

The Beeper Mini app currently allows users to authenticate with their Apple ID and will remain free until further notice, due to concerns of further interference from Apple.

“[This is] a very strong signal from bipartisan legislators in the House and Senate…lots more to come this week,” said Migicovsky in a post on X about the letter, which was first reported by CBS Mornings.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Mike Lee, Representative Jerry Nadler, and Representative Ken Buck have all sent a letter to the DOJ requesting an investigation into Apple’s potentially anticompetitive actions regarding the Beeper Mini app. Journalist Jo Ling Kent reported on CBS Mornings and shared the letter on Twitter.

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Zara Khan

Zara Khan is a seasoned investigative journalist with a focus on social justice issues. She has won numerous awards for her groundbreaking reporting and has a reputation for fearlessly exposing wrongdoing.

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