The conversation around Beeper Mini and iMessage was never going to go quietly into the night. From the moment Beeper Mini went live, seemingly with a bit of backend magic that worked too good, we were counting down the hours until Apple did something to squash its trickery. And from the moment Apple did just that, Beeper was always going to struggle to find another way into iMessage.
So the solution for Beeper, if they want to exist, isn’t to continue to find more work-arounds behind-the-scenes that Apple will keep busting – that is a losing battle. The real move is to take this to Congress and see if lawmakers can force Apple into opening up iMessage.
That has now happened. Over the weekend, Senators (Klobuchar-D, Lee-R) and House members (Nadler-D, Buck-R) on both sides of the aisle sent a letter to the Department of Justice, asking them “to investigate whether this potentially anticompetitive conduct by Apple violated antitrust laws.”
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What could such an investigation lead to? Hard to say. Should the DOJ conduct such an investigation, I’d imagine that Apple would point to its commitment to launching RCS support as proof that it is providing improved interoperability and interconnection between Android and Apple devices, which is one of the points made in the letter as a concern. One of the other big complaints surrounding conversations between iMessage and Android is the fact that iMessage defaults back to old SMS technology that isn’t as secure as iMessage-to-iMessage chats. But that all sort of changes with the introduction of RCS, which does support encryption.
While I think Beeper Mini was a fascinating product launch, they were using Apple’s own software without approval in what Apple deemed to be an insecure way. Whether Apple is telling the complete truth there or not will be an unanswered question, but my guess is that iMessage itself won’t be seen in the future as that anti-competitive with RCS around the corner.
We’ll keep you updated on where this goes. Until then, just know that Beeper Mini barely works for most of its users and probably won’t for a long, long time if ever. Patch and break on repeat is the ongoing story there.