Tile CEO calls Apple ‘a runaway monopoly train’ after AirTags release

Tile’s CEO CJ Prober is openly unhappy with Tim Cook’s decision to enter the mobile tracker business. This was revealed in an interview for Bloomberg. Apple’s AirTags have been out for two weeks now (although most aren’t delivered yet), but Tile is already sensing the great threat they’ll be for the business of the San Mateo-based company.

What’s the matter

Prober says that Apple has put Tile at a massive disadvantage with the release of the AirTag and recent changes to iOS, and the way it interacts with Tile trackers. Tile’s CEO goes back to 2019, when Apple launched the Find My app, claiming the Cupertino-based company “made a number of changes” which caused difficulties for Tile users, who wanted to use the trackers on their iOS devices. He claims that the changes suggested “Tile was broken when it wasn’t.Apple used to sell Tile tracker on their website, and they even talked about it during the 2019 World Developers Conference. Therefore Tile’s boss thinks it’s unfair that Apple basically pushed Tile out of the boat. He isn’t happy that Tile doesn’t get access to the Find My network and says that this and the “seamless activation… and UWB chip (for precise location) are the only things that set the two trackers apart.

Tile has tried to negotiate with Apple for access to pressing to the U1 Ultra Wideband chip, but Tim Cook and company weren’t convinced. Still, Apple will release a draft Ultra Wideband specification soon which will give others access to the U1 chip network. Moreover, Apple’s Find My network is open to third-party manufacturers that want to make new products with AirTag capabilities.

What’s next for Tile

CJ Prober is not worried about the company’s long-term future, saying that “the good news is that Tile is very well positioned (with) a super differentiated product cross-platform.”

He thinks that the lack of a need for an accessory to attach Tile to your things and the range of different Tiles is enough to help them keep up with the new big dogs – Apple & Samsung (for the Smart Tag).

Tile has now joined forces with Epic Games and Spotify in a Coalition for App Fairness and testified against the fruit-named brand in the trial vs Epic Games, which came after Apple took down Fortnite from the App Store.

The bottom line

All in all, we are far from convinced that Tile will manage to keep up with the big sharks. The advantages the Tile tracker has are there, as mentioned by the company’s CEO, but Apple has a much bigger stage to perform on with their insanely popular iPhone and iPad devices.

Still, competition is good for the end-user, so we’d be happy to see Tile compete. In fact, we are expecting to see more similar trackers emerge soon. Google is said to join the party with a device of their own, and we won’t be surprised if more big players decide to offer similar products in the near future.

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