Remember the Apple - Beeper Mini case? It might just have reignited; FCC wants to have a look

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FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has called for an investigation into Apple’s decision to block Beeper Mini, a service designed to bring the iMessage functionality to Android devices. Carr has raised concerns that Apple’s actions may violate FCC rules to ensure accessibility and usability for people with disabilities.

Beeper Mini, launched by Pebble founder Eric Migicovsky, utilized reverse engineering to make iMessage features accessible on Android. However, Apple quickly moved to block the service, leading to a cat-and-mouse game where Beeper scrambled for fixes while Apple implemented further countermeasures.

Ultimately, Beeper conceded defeat due to the unsustainable efforts needed to circumvent Apple’s blocks.

Carr’s concerns stem from FCC Part 14 rules, which mandate “advanced communications services” to be accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities. He argues that Beeper Mini promoted principles like accessibility and usability, and Apple’s actions seemingly contradict the Part 14 regulations.

Specifically, Carr cites a rule stating that providers “shall not install network features, functions, or capabilities that impede accessibility or usability.”

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This call for investigation follows a bipartisan request from U.S. lawmakers urging the Department of Justice to probe Apple’s “potential anticompetitive treatment” of Beeper.

Senator Elizabeth Warren also previously criticized Apple’s move, highlighting ongoing concerns about the company’s business practices.

The FCC has yet to comment on whether they will initiate an investigation. However, this development adds to Apple’s growing scrutiny regarding its platform restrictions and potential anticompetitive practices.

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