While the CEO of tracking company Tile continues to claim that Apple’s AirTags is “unfair competition,” he will admit that Tile revenues are actually up. Wait, what?
When Apple released its AirTag tracking system back in May 2021, CJ Prober, CEO of existing rival Tile, said his company welcomed the competition. However, “it needs to be fair,” while expressing antitrust concerns.
Now, Wired reports that Prober says Tile is doing well against the AirTags. “We’ve sold over 40 million Tiles,” he said. “Revenue was up in the first half of the year.”
“Third-party product activations, a big focus of ours, we’re up over 200% year over year,” he continued. “Business is good. We’re seeing really strong business momentum — despite the unfair competition from Apple.”
Prober says that not long ago, you could buy Tile products from the Apple Store. However, “very quickly, we got kicked out of their stores.” He says that Apple made changes to iOS “that deprecated our experience,” in favor of AirTags and the Find My network.
“Look at how Apple differentiates AirTags over Tile — it’s all platform capabilities that they’ve reserved for themselves,” he said. “The seamless activation [for example] is not available to third parties.”
“Despite all of that,” continued Prober, “and despite Apple self-preferencing, business is good — but, obviously, it’s better if we are competing fairly.”
Apple told Wired that it does not practice self-preferencing, nor does it reserve features for its own services and that it always welcomes any competition.
“We made APIs available this summer and have been working with UWB chipset developers to ensure iOS compatibility— some already have development kits available for purchase,” an Apple spokesperson said. “We have always embraced competition as the best way to drive great experiences for our customers, and we have worked hard to build a platform in iOS that enables third-party developers to thrive.”
Prober thinks his company is also helping the “global momentum” against Apple’s actions.
“Look at the legislation that was passed in Korea [and some] of the activities that are happening in the EU,” he said. “It’s brought an increased passion… and created a rallying cry for our teams.”
“Companies that are being similarly situated might be worried about the repercussions of being vocal about these things,” continued Prober, “but I’m a believer that we have to do what’s right for the future of third-party ecosystems and other developers.”