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It's not entirely clear that the FCC commissioner knows what he's talking about as he calls for antitrust rules Action against Apple for systematically shutting down the iMessage app on Android Beeper Mini.
The US government is conducting numerous antitrust investigations aimed at Apple's control over the App Store and its services — sometimes for good reason. However, as with many things involving technology, it appears that even the FCC commissioner doesn't quite understand the nuances of Apple and the Beeper Mini.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr's short tirade, first reported by The Verge, revealed exactly what action he would like to see against Apple and demonstrated how little he knows about the situation. He seems to think of the Beeper Mini as a kind of Robin Hood, stealing iMessage from rich and greedy Apple to deliver it to the masses who deserve blue bubble text messages.
Judging by Carr's statements, he believes that Apple only offering iMessage on the iPhone is an accessibility issue. He says that if Beeper Mini brings iMessage to Android and Apple stops it, Apple will be violating Part 14 of its accessibility guidelines.
Carr suggests that Apple is deliberately degrading the quality of Android messages, for example by reducing image resolution. He doesn't seem to know the technical nature of SMS or the differences between it and Apple's Internet messaging protocol.
The FCC Commissioner also didn't mention Apple's promise to support RCS and work with GSMA to develop Universal Profile encryption.
Today I called on the @FCC to investigate whether Apple violated our Part 14 rules. by blocking Beeper Mini, an app that provides compatibility between iOS & Android messaging.
Beeper bridges the gap between the “blue and green bubble” that Apple supports as part of the broader pic.twitter.com/vxefQZKDXb
— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) February 12, 2024
Carr previously wanted Apple and Google to remove TikTok from the App Store for political reasons. He also viewed the lack of response to concerns about China as an antitrust move.
This isn't the first or last time we've heard from political leaders that Apple is shutting down iMessage on Android with Beeper Mini. We're not sure why the battle between the green and blue bubbles has captured the attention of policymakers, and it's not surprising that legislators and government officials of all stripes don't seem to be fully aware of the technical issues.