Apple critic Tile acquired by location-sharing app maker

Apple critic Tile acquired by location-sharing app maker

Nov 22, Reuters -- Tile Inc, a maker of tracking tags that was a vocal critic of Apple Inc., has been acquired by Life 360, a location-sharing app maker.

The deal was valued at $205 million after Tile had raised $141 million in venture capital since its founding in 2012, a return of just 1.45 times invested capital.

Tile's tracking tags were once carried in Apple Stores. In testimony before U.S. lawmakers last year, Tile executives said Apple began to distance itself from the startup company because it was ready to launch its own tracking tag product.

Tile executives said that Apple introduced technical changes that made it harder to pair its products with iPhones.

The $30 AirTags, small devices meant to be attached to keys or other valuables, is more seamless for iPhone owners than third-party devices like Tile unless the third-party companies use special tools provided by Apple.

Apple says the tools are designed to protect the privacy of users by preventing third-party tracking tag companies from amassing user data.

Tile said that using Apple's tools would prevent it from having its own app and make its business model infeasible.

Tile still makes tags that work with both Apple and non-Apple devices, although they have less functionality than AirTags when used with iPhones because of Apple's rules.

Under the deal on Monday, the companies said Tile will continue under its own brand identity under the leadership of Tile CEO CJ Prober, who will also join the Life 360 board of directors. The team of employees for Tile is expected to remain in place, according to the two companies.