The ongoing cat-and-mouse game between Apple and Beeper, the company whose Beeper Mini app it blocked from accessing iMessage servers, continues to cause a stir. While there is an ongoing discussion surrounding whether Apple should be allowed to prevent Beeper from piggybacking off its iMessage service, it now appears that two groups of U.S. lawmakers are starting to take an interest in what’s going on.
According to a report, both the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are starting to take notice, with there being concerns over Apple’s motives for the move to block Beeper Mini. The company says that Beeper Mini poses a security threat, potentially affecting the privacy of people who use the iMessage service. But others aren’t so sure.
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According to a report by The New York Times, the DOJ is already looking into the matter and has held meetings with Eric Migicovsky, a co-founder of Beeper, to get to the bottom of things. Migicovsky has so far refused to comment on the meetings, but it’s clear they were about Beeper Mini and its ability to bring iMessage support to Android devices – something Apple has steadfastly refused to do to date.
The DOJ isn’t alone in taking an interest, however. With Apple claiming privacy and security as the two reasons it doesn’t want to allow Beeper Mini to use its services, the FTC has published a blog post that seems to be aimed squarely at the iPhone maker. While Apple isn’t mentioned specifically, the blog post does say that companies sometimes claim that privacy and security are the reasons for refusing to allow products and services to interoperate. The blog post goes on to suggest that the FTC is in a position to investigate whether that is indeed the case or whether the claims are simply being made as a way to prevent competition.
As for Beeper Mini itself, it’s once again working so long as users have access to a Mac in order to get the authentication keys required. If they don’t, Beeper Mini can no longer function which does take the shine off what was previously a very polished implementation.
This whole situation has once again surfaced new conversations on whether iMessage should be a cross-platform service or not. Some would argue that its popularity should mean that Apple be forced to open it up to the competition, something the European Commission has also considered. Others would argue that Apple can do what it wants with its own instant messaging service, however.