back to article FCC Commissioner calls for crackdown on Apple's iMessage gatekeeping

Brendan Carr of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has called on the authority to take a closer look at Apple's actions in the Beeper Mini affair. Beeper Mini was launched to bring the iMessage service to non-Apple devices. It allowed users to send or receive iMessages without Apple hardware being involved. Apple …

  1. SW10

    Bubble trouble

    We also asked Apple to comment.

    I think I can see what’s been going wrong all these years - you’ve been sending green-bubble texts, haven’t you?

    1. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: Bubble trouble

      Maybe they were addressing their messages to Tim Apple, instead of Tim Cook.

  2. aerogems Silver badge

    I figured something like this was coming, and it's why Apple has agreed to support Google's messaging protocol... At least until Google gets bored with it and decides to replace it with something else like they did with XMPP. They'll still keep their own proprietary protocol, but they can claim that the major competing protocol is now given equal footing, putting the onus more on Google to deal with the gatekeeper headache in the EU.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If Apple provides the infrastructure for iMessage, don’t they get to say who can access it? Or is it so big now it falls outside of that usual rule of business.

    I ask because I’m never quite sure where the line is between “normal business practice” and “anticompetitive” and I guess it tends to come down to scale.

    1. Martin Summers

      Re: Hmmm

      I'm not an Apple Fanboi at all, quite the opposite. I do however think if they want to run a proprietary closed message system then it's up to them. I don't see why anyone else feels they have any right to access it, especially when they have to use man in the middle Apple hardware to do it.

      Apple could probably spin out iMessage as a standalone app to Android users and they would flock to it, seeing Apple as the last bastion of privacy, which I in fact do compared to Google or Meta. Even I would be tempted to move over to it over WhatsApp. Maybe that's what they're planning in the future. They'd possibly completely kill of WhatsApp if they did, which would be great.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmmm

        Paradoxically then perhaps they'd be accused of being anti-competitive for killing off a competitor.

    2. Dinanziame Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm

      If Apple provides the infrastructure for iMessage, don’t they get to say who can access it? Or is it so big now it falls outside of that usual rule of business.

      Indeed, it's about size. Nobody cares if a small barely used service makes it hard for competitors to work with it; but if it's one of the largest services around, that's when it starts being a gatekeeper and different rules apply.

      For instance, Apple fought the EU's efforts to force open iMessage by pointing out that it is barely used in Europe compared to the US.

  4. jezza99

    iMessage isn't very useful...

    Because it only runs on Apple devices.

    I'm a fanboi with the best of them, but I hardly use iMessage. Many of my friends use Android. WhatsApp works on any device.

    iMessage continues to find ways to route messages to /dev/null also.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: iMessage isn't very useful...

      WhatsApp requires handing over your life to the Sugar Mountain.

      So it’s not an acceptable solution.

    2. VicMortimer Silver badge

      Re: iMessage isn't very useful...

      What'sapp is F*c*book.

      F*c*book software is not allowed on any system I manage.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: iMessage isn't very useful...

        So bloody childish and grating to see when someone 'censors' stuff like this to be funny. There used to be some people who used to 'censor' the word 'work' but they seem to have disappeared thankfully.

    3. schultzter

      Re: iMessage isn't very useful...

      This is why I don't understand the fuss: if you want cross-platform advanced messaging the choices are there.

      And if you were able to go to the app store and install Candy Crush, Angry Birds, or whatever I'm sure you can figure out how to install another messenger! And I know many people who do.

      The caveat being in North America unlimited SMS/MMS is included in even the most basic of mobile phone plans where as limited amounts of data only show up in mid-tier plans and only become viable in high-end plans. So a lot of us have to use SMS to have reliable messaging which on iPhone means iMessage so it may as well be your one-and-only messenger.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: iMessage isn't very useful...

      WhatsApp works on any device.

      Not as many as SMS works on. Or even MMS. (MMS is horrible, but so are all the OTT messaging applications, with Signal being the least horrible since it at least serves a useful purpose.)

      Why people feel they have to use these OTT messaging applications is beyond me, frankly. "Oh, all my friends insist on WhatsCrap!" Friends like that I don't need.

  5. prh99

    Oh now he cares about competition, cause he sure as heck doesn't when it comes broadband internet.

    Also didn't Apple agree to implement RCS?

  6. Mishak Silver badge

    Message from Apple to Beeper

    Thank's for highlighting some security vulnerabilities with our server.

    Please be assured that these have now been resolved.

    Feel free to make further submissions.

  7. Usage Lapsed

    Nope, still don't see the issue

    OK so some interoperability may be nice with regards to images etc. not being sent via SMS/MMS... Apple could do this (and probably should) and give them a different colour bubble. People would then just complain that the bubble is still not Blue.

    If Apple were to release an iMessage app, would this really solve the problem as then Android users would then need to download another app and they would moan about this too (or about yet another bubble colour).

    Google Chat is already available on iDevices so effectively Apple don't need to create an app because there is already there, so is the Representatives complaint still valid about loss of quality, location etc. in images? Seems more like he is moaning that Apple people don't want to install another app that resolves this issue, probably because so many are already using other Data Gatherers messaging services already.

    I'm on Apple (my choice), the kids on on Android (their choice)... i couldn't care less about bubble colour, image reduction and location within as we use the app most appropriate to the use case. This is sometimes SMS in crappy signal areas (yes, there's lots of them, yes itis not e2ee but use case remember), Facebook Messenger (with e2ee), Google Photos (rarely) or Discord. The kids sit a lot of time in Snap due to its functionality (I don't have it).

    Not kept up on it but, has Google opened it's Rich Test messaging service to others yet? The Carriers were all up for it at one point but is it actually available? Maybe this system should be focused on rather then than chase each individually. Though if it's not e2ee by default, then I wouldn't care less again.

    My argument here really is, there are ways around it, those ways are probably used more anyhow due to what the user is trying to achieve, so does it really matter.

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