Apple is accused of corporate bullying after reportedly booting rival headphone maker Monster from its “Made for iPhone” accessory program.
Monster claims the move is in retaliation for an ongoing lawsuit against Beats, which is now owned by Apple. Monster was the original contract manufacturer of Beats-branded headphones. The move could seriously impact Monster’s headphone business.
Considering the headphone market is a $2 billion industry in the United States, there’s plenty of money to be lost without Apple’s support.
Without the ability to take advantage of Apple’s MFi program, Monster accessories can’t carry the Made for iPhone logo that verifies they work together, nor does Monster have access to the tools and support Apple offers to other third-party manufacturers.
The story comes from The Wall Street Journal, which reports that Apple’s chief litigation counsel Noreel Krall told Monster’s general counsel David Tognotti that the agreement within the MFi program is coming to an end on May 5.
According to Tognotti, Krall said that because of the lawsuit, the relationship between Apple and Monster is not “mutually beneficial.”
“It shows a side of Apple that consumers don’t see very often,” Monster’s Tognotti told The Wall Street Journal, expressing his disapproval of Apple’s actions.
“Apple can be a bully,” he added.
Monster’s lawsuit alleges that Beats stole its headphone technology and was holding out on profits owed after Apple’s acquisition.
Monster was stopped working with Beats in 2011 when the latter sold 51 percent of the company to HTC and moved around roles and ownership. Apple then acquired Beats in 2014 for a cool $3 billion.
Monster can reportedly still sell MFi certified products until September, but the manufacturing of new Monster accessories is no longer allowed. This means the company needs to rework all packaging that includes a “Made for iPhone” label, plus redesign or altogether stop making products that include licensed technology from Apple.