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Apple cracks down on messaging on customers' Macs| GuyWhoKnowsThings


when apple crashed the Beeper Mini app last month In addition to giving Android users access to the tech giant's messaging service, Beeper encouraged customers to use their Mac computers to connect and continue messaging.

But in recent days, dozens of Beeper customers have reported that they no longer have access to Apple's messaging service on their Android phones or Mac computers. Several called Apple customer service and were told that the company had revoked his Mac's access to iMessage due to irregular activity. None had been warned that they would lose service.

For Beeper customers, many of whom prefer Android devices to iPhones but prefer Macs to PCs, Apple's move shows how far the company will go to maintain control over its services. In these cases, Apple cut off one of the services it provided with its computers because it had objected to the way its customers used it.

“Legally, they're probably safe because of their terms of service, but it's still a bit tacky,” said Matvei Vevitsis, who noticed this month that he could no longer send iMessages to his mother via his 12-inch MacBook.

Apple declined to comment. After The New York Times contacted Apple, some Beeper customers began reporting that they had been unlocked in recent days.

The maneuver is the latest in a tit-for-tat between Apple and Beeper that has drawn the attention of antitrust regulators. Last year, The Justice Department met with Beeper's leadership team about Apple's actions.and the Federal Trade Commission said in a blog that it would examine “dominant” players who “use privacy and security as justification for not allowing interoperability” between services.

Beeper Mini debuted on December 5 as an app that offered Android phone users the ability to send encrypted messages to iPhones. It made it possible for people with Samsung and Google devices to send high-resolution videos and use perks like animations, which were previously reserved for iPhone customers. Within three days, the app had added 100,000 customers.

But Apple blocked the app by changing its iMessage system. He said the app created security and privacy risks.

Beeper then came up with a solution to maintain their service. It asked customers to use their Mac computers to obtain a registration code for iMessage and use it to sign in to Beeper on an Android device.

Vevitsis, 31, said he had used a MacBook from around 2015 to connect Beeper to Apple's messaging service on his Samsung Galaxy phone. A self-proclaimed tech expert, he prefers to use Android phones because the system is more customizable than an iPhone. But his mother has an iPhone and he wanted to be able to send her high-quality photos and videos.

Earlier this year, Beeper stopped working and Vevitsis could no longer send messages to his mother. He opened his MacBook and tried to message her directly but had the same problem, so he called Apple support.

“Apple told me that my iMessage had been marked as spam,” he said. The Apple support representative offered to unlock it, but that didn't solve the problem. Finally, he downloaded an app that allowed him to create an alternate serial number for his MacBook and was able to start using iMessages again.

Beeper said more than two dozen of about 3,500 customers had reported similar outages on their Macs. Several of those customers spoke to The Times and provided logs and details of their conversations with Apple support.

Ghazi Shami, the founder of the empire, an independent music company in San Francisco, said it had encountered similar problems. Like Vevitsis, Shami prefers using a Galaxy to an iPhone, but many musicians send audio recordings with iMessage. Shami logged into Beeper using her iMac Pro desktop computer so she could send and receive those recordings from his phone.

But late last year, he said, Beeper stopped working and iMessage was turned off on his iMac, which Apple set at $5,000 when it launched in 2017.

“I don't think it's in the spirit of Silicon Valley to block someone's serial number because they were testing beta software,” Shami said. “It's like they're reprimanding schoolchildren.”


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