Tile, a startup that makes location-aware tracking tags, will testify against Apple in a congressional antitrust hearing today.
Apple and Tile previously enjoyed a good relationship. Apple sold Tile products in its stores starting in 2015. However, last year, Apple stopped selling Tile products. It also hired away one of its engineers — with all signs pointing to Apple having developed its own rival product.
“After thoughtful consideration and months of bringing our concerns to Apple through regular … channels, Tile has made the decision to continue raising concerns over Apple’s anti-competitive practices,” Tile general counsel Kirsten Daru told Reuters.
Tile will testify at a field hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee in Colorado. It is part of a larger investigation into the power of tech giants.
In September 2019, lawmakers asked more than 80 companies to advise them on ways they have been harmed by Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google. Spotify previously spoke out against Apple’s business practices. Congress also requested access to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s archive of emails.
Lawmakers have not yet announced an official investigation into Apple. But the question of its dominance keeps coming up. Specifically, one major issue is how Apple can simultaneously act as a platform for third parties while making its own rival products. Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has accused Apple of using the App Store to hinder competition. This would be an antitrust challenge like the one that rocked Microsoft in the late 1990s.
Apple has yet to officially announce its Tile rival product. However, iOS 13 includes a new application called Find My that shows the location of friends and family, alongside tracking misplaced iPhones and iPads. Hidden in the code are also references to a new Items tag.