“Lost and Found” expert Tile was acquired and criticized Apple for unfair competition

Recently, Tile, a Bluetooth tracker brand that competes with Apple's AirTag, was acquired by Life360, a home communication service provider, at a price of US$205 million. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022.

From the perspective of the positioning and products of both parties, this is a complementary acquisition that takes each one's needs.

Life360 positioning is a comprehensive home security application that provides functions such as location sharing and collision detection. Its valuation has exceeded 1 billion U.S. dollars.

▲ Free version of Life360 service (machine translation).

And Tile, established in 2012, is a long-term leader in the field of lost property tracking. It provides small devices attached to items such as handbags, suitcases, bicycles, wallets, etc. When items are lost, the Tile app on iOS or Android will use Bluetooth to find items and make them sound.

▲ Picture from: Tile

In order to expand the usage scenarios, Tile launched the search network "Tile Find Network" in September 2020. This network brings together users who have installed Tile on their mobile phones or other access points to form a "Everyone for me, I am for everyone". "The common search community."

When the lost item exceeds the Bluetooth range of a mobile phone, it may be covered by the Bluetooth of thousands of mobile phones, and the specific location will be automatically and anonymously notified to the owner through the Tile app.

▲「Tile Find Network」. Picture from: Tile

Life360 hopes to use Tile to expand its business beyond family tracking, "find the people, pets and things that the family cares about most." They keep in touch with their families and can use Tile's find function to track their belongings.

Tile has established partnerships with more than 50 different third-party devices, from wireless earbuds to laptops to dog collars, which also makes this transaction more valuable; and Life360 pointed out that their 33 million mobile phone users are expected to use The coverage of "Tile Find Network" has been expanded 10 times.

▲ Picture from: Tile

To date, Tile has sold more than 40 million devices and has more than 425,000 paying customers, but has not disclosed its total number of active users; after the transaction is completed, Life360 will have access to more than 27,000 retail stores selling Tile products and more than 1 million units Third-party equipment with built-in Tile technology.

The apps of both companies can be used on iOS and Android, which will help expand international business. They will also launch a premium subscription service together to convert more free users into paying users.

In addition to the "lost and found tracing expert", Tile has another identity-"Apple's staunch critic of unfair competition." Since the launch of Apple's AirTag, the future of Tile has been threatened, and it even testified before lawmakers about Apple's impact on its business.

The reason is simple. Apple AirTag and Tile are too similar in form and function . At the same time, Apple also holds first-party advantages and ecosystem power.

▲ Find My.

Tile has a search network "Tile Find Network", and AirTag also has a similar "lost mode". Although Apple came later, it has hundreds of millions of users, which means a larger search network; Apple also provides a more precise search network for AirTag. Ultra-wideband technology, and integrate AirTag into Apple's own application "Find My" .

CJ Prober, CEO of Tile, said in a recent interview with Wired that both Apple and Samsung use ultra-wideband technology for their own trackers, but both restrict the use of UWB technology APIs for Tile.

In addition to completing the acquisition, Tile also tried more self-help measures.

▲ Picture from: Tile

In September this year, Tile announced a $40 million debt financing, which was used to improve technology; in October this year, Tile updated its product line and launched a new device "Tile Ultra", which will be launched in early 2022. Tile has also upgraded the existing Tile Pro, Mate, Sticker, Slim and other equipment, including more stylish design, louder ringtones, wider search range, longer battery life and higher water resistance.

▲ Picture from: Tile

It is worth mentioning that Tile Ultra uses ultra-wideband technology, which is the same technology used by AirTag to achieve a more precise search function. Tile said in October that it has been working closely with its partner Google to ensure that its new ultra-wideband devices work well with Android 12. Tile Ultra will also provide an augmented reality mode, making the search process easier and more intuitive.

▲ Augmented reality function.

According to TechCrunch, although Tile has entered the service field and has partnered with many companies that want to incorporate the "lost property tracking" function into their products, most of the revenue of Tile still comes from direct sales of equipment. In the first half of this year, Tile's revenue increased by more than 50%, but the company declined to disclose its specific figures.

Grapes are not the only fruit.

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