PWSHub News

FCC commissioner calls for investigation over Apple's shutdown of Beeper Mini

beeper mini

The death of Beeper Mini practically killed the dream of iMessage for Android, and now an FCC commissioner is calling for an investigation into Apple’s actions in pulling the plug.

Beeper Mini, in summary, used a reverse-engineered method of accessing iMessage to give Android users the ability to send “blue bubble” messages from their Android devices, including using the phone number on that device. At launch, it could even work without an Apple ID. But, despite Beeper’s confidence Apple couldn’t kill the system, Apple did just that a few days later. After weeks of back and forth, Beeper threw in the towel with one last bridge, which has also since been disabled as Apple started banning customers’ Macs for using Beeper.

It’s a crazy story, and one that’s gotten a whole lot of attention.

In mid-December, a bi-partisan letter called on the US Department of Justice to investigate whether or not Apple had broken antitrust laws in shutting down Beeper Mini. Now, FCC commissioner Brendan Carr is calling on the FCC to investigate the matter.

Carr spoke on the matter during the State of the Net Conference, with a clip of the request posted to Twitter/X. Carr specifically focuses on whether or not Apple violated Part 14 of FCC rules. As The Verge notes, that section lays out requirements for any “advanced communications service.” Specifically, it refers to requirements for “access to advanced communications services and equipment by people with disabilities.”

While it’s unclear how Apple’s actions may have violated Part 14, the company’s choice to ban users may have crossed a line. One notable quote from the rules says that “no person shall be liable for a violation of the requirements of the rules in this part with respect to advanced communications services or equipment used to provide or access advanced communications services” and specifically calls out that this includes “transient storage the communications made available through the provision of advanced communications services by a third party.”

Another portion of the rules that Carr calls out says that providers, such as Apple, “shall not install network features, functions, or capabilities that impede accessibility or usability” and cites that the colors Apple users for green bubble SMS messages (specifically the low contrast) “makes it difficult for people with low vision or difficulty with seeing from picking up those messages.”

The full near-6-minute discussion by Carr can be viewed below, but the FCC has yet to formally launch any investigation into the matter.

Today, I called for the @FCC to investigate whether Apple violated our Part 14 rules by blocking Beeper Mini – an app that enabled interoperability between iOS & Android messaging.

Beeper bridged the “blue bubble – green bubble” divide that Apple maintains as part of a broader…

— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) February 12, 2024

More on Beeper:

  • Beeper disables new iMessage connections after Apple banned Macs
  • Beeper Mini removed from Play Store after iMessage mess
  • Beeper acknowledges ‘unsustainable’ iMessage for Android fight

Follow Ben: Twitter/XThreads, and Instagram

Add 9to5Google to your Google News feed. 

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Related stories
2 weeks ago - One of the things that's turned generative AI into a global phenomenon is how easy it is for just about anyone to use powerful tools to generate text, audio and video. And while there are many good uses for the tech, the bad use cases --...
1 week ago - AT&T outage cause — AT&T blamed itself for "incorrect process used as we were expanding our network." Enlarge / Cellular towers in Redondo Beach, California on February...
5 days ago - Google has again stoked fears that rival Microsoft is using anticompetitive business practices and licenses to establish a cloud monopoly, and is...
2 weeks ago - Too core to fail — Microsoft's Edge browser, Bing search, and ad business also avoid regulations. Getty Images Apple's iMessage service is not a "gatekeeper" prone to...
Other stories
21 minutes ago - You can get two Sonos Era 100 smart speakers for $88 off the normal price in a deal on Woot. It's almost as low as last year's Black Friday price.
21 minutes ago - Good afternoon from Las Vegas; I am here for The Netflix Slam, the streaming service’s latest live event. Netflix has tested live programming with...
21 minutes ago - Dear Amy: My brother and I have always had a tenuous relationship. Our father was abusive, but we are both in midlife and have led fairly successful...
51 minutes ago - The Galaxy Z Fold 6 is one of 2024’s eagerly awaited handsets, and now we know more about Samsung’s plans to support the flagship foldable.
1 hour ago - Adding a soundbar to your TV is a great way to jazz things up with music streaming and voice capabilities. These are the best soundbars we’ve tested.
1 hour ago - Not compulsory for now, but IT minister says that's coming after Google's Gemini said the quiet part out loud