Photo by MIH83 on Pixabay
Spotify Asks the European Commission to Make Apple Play Fair
Apple has been kicking music-streaming service Spotify around for years, and Spotify is fed up. On a new Web site called Time to Play Fair, Spotify offers a timeline of its interactions with Apple, documenting how Apple’s self-serving behavior with the App Store puts Spotify at a disadvantage against Apple Music. Spotify says that Apple has repeatedly rejected updates to its iOS app after Spotify withdrew from using Apple’s in-app purchase system, which gave Apple a 30% cut of the subscription charges. As a Swedish company, Spotify is calling on the European Commission to “ensure a level playing field.”
With Spotify’s move coming on the heels of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to break up the tech giants (see “Big Tech Attracts Antitrust Attention from Senator Elizabeth Warren,” 12 March 2019) and a British panel calling for stricter antitrust rules, companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google would do well to examine the behaviors that are setting off what could become a significant regulatory backlash.
I can’t help but notice the timing of this announcement immediately proceeds Apple’s recently announced “It’s Show Time” press event:
This past summer Apple Music overtook Spotify in paid subscriptions in the US:
Spotify has been forcing customers to not renew via the App Store for quite some time, but this strategy is obviously is not working to their satisfaction:
Netflix has a similar work around to avoid the %, but they haven’t gone screaming and kicking to the EU or teamed up with Spotify, at least not yet.
Among the reasons why the App Store continues to be wildly successful is that people trust it with their credit card info, it’s easy to use, and people like that apps are vetted for safety, security and privacy. If I remember correctly, Apple has sometimes held up Spotify app updates for not adhering to App Store requirements a few times in the past, and they accused Apple of doing so to kill competition. And now Apple is about to unveil streaming video and publishing subscription services as siblings to Music and News. This will very likely make The Spotify/Hulu with commercials subscription deal, which hasn’t exactly been wildly successful, look even more anemic to consumers.
Apple deserves all the bad press and hate they get at this point. Each major OS gets worse rather than better (broken Preview article is a perfect example, SoftRAID support removed, glitchy Finder behaviour). Instead of slowing down and moving to a bi-yearly update cycle and quality OS versions, nope have to keep the pace at which Apple is failing, while we, its users, pay the price for Apple’s failure to hire first-rate developers or enough of them or manage them or whatever it is they are doing (it looks like outsourcing to India from this vantage point, as any software which goes to India becomes a swollen buggy golum of itself - the development system is different, it’s huge teams using frameworks rather than individual brilliant programmers).
And now Apple wants into everyone else’s pocket, like some bottomless pit.
But no, the Apple cheerleaders here will cover their ears - hear no evil - cover their eyes - see no evil - and even try to stop any criticism of Apple - speak no evil. Apple is evil. The 1984 commercial is about Apple now. Any kind comparisons to Google or Facebook or Microsoft on privacy are just moral relativism.
If you say no to connecting to Apple and sending them your data, your new Apple computer since Mountain Lion connects anyway (Snow Leopard did respect your wishes most of the time). High Sierra needs to have six connections open to Apple just to stop trying to open connections to Apple all the time. Yes, I have iCloud turned off and every privacy setting set to private.
And now Apple faces a Dutch antitrust investigation over Apple News and Apple Music.
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