Republican Commissioner Brendan Carr called on the FCC to investigate Apple's response to Beeper Mini — the app that briefly brought iMessage to Android. During the State of the Network conference on Monday, Carr told the FCC It should consider whether Apple's move “is consistent with the FCC's Part 14 rules” on accommodating users with disabilities.
The Beeper Mini launched last year, allowing Android users to access iMessage features, including blue message bubbles and the ability to send high-quality photos and videos. However, Apple quickly banned Beeper Mini users and continued to stop attempts to launch the app, prompting its developers to eventually give up.
FCC Part 14 rules. Establish requirements that an advanced communications service, such as iMessage, must follow to ensure accessibility. By putting a stop to the Beeper Mini, Carr argues that Apple may be violating an FCC rule that says service providers “may not install network features, functions, or capabilities that impede access or usability.” The low contrast in the green bubbles “makes it difficult for people with poor eyesight or difficulty seeing to pick up those messages,” he says.
“Apple made changes to iMessage to disable Beeper Mini functionality,” Carr said. “The FCC should launch an investigation to consider whether Apple's decision to reduce the functionality of the Beeper Mini, which once again encouraged accessibility and ease of use, was a move that violates FCC rules.” the edge I reached out to FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel to see if the agency planned to investigate but did not immediately receive a response.
Carr appears to be concerned about more than just the Beeper Mini debacle. He also noted Apple's influence on the augmented and virtual reality spaces and criticized the walled garden that Apple places around its products and services. “I think there are potentially negative consequences if Apple continues in a world where it treats its own technologies one way and under-performs competitive technologies,” Carr said.
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