Congress Reportedly Asks Spotify for Information on Apple's Alleged Anticompetitive Behavior

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The U.S. Congress has requested information from Spotify related to its anticompetitive allegations against Apple, according to Reuters.


From the report:
The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee reached out to the music streaming service with broad requests for information, according to one source, who added the request to the company was narrowed in follow up telephone calls.
In March, Spotify announced it filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Commission over unfair App Store practices. Spotify took particular issue with Apple charging a 30 percent "tax" on only certain App Store purchases, calling it "discriminatory."

Apple only charges a commission on in-app purchases tied to digital goods, so apps providing real goods and services like Uber are exempt.

Apple also forbids Spotify and other developers from alerting users that they can sign up for a subscription or complete a purchase outside of its iOS app, and disallows Spotify from advertising deals to its customers in the app or by email, as these practices would circumvent Apple's in-app purchase system.

Apple labeled Spotify's complaint as "misleading rhetoric" and claimed that "Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app without being free," later adding that Spotify pays Apple a 15 percent commission for only about 0.5 percent of its paying subscribers, as part of its official response to the complaint.

Apple has faced increasing scrutiny as of late over the way it runs its App Store. In response, Apple said the App Store "welcomes competition," noting that it was created to be "a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps" and "a great business opportunity for all developers."

Article Link: Congress Reportedly Asks Spotify for Information on Apple's Alleged Anticompetitive Behavior
 
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WannaGoMac

macrumors 68020
Feb 11, 2007
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OMG, Spotify is Booty Tickled that Apple Music is gaining on them and will soon stomp them out. Spotify proves to be childish.

They also want to replace AppleCore OS services with their services.... not going to happen... LOL
Unless Apple Music starts working on far more than their own platforms (yes they have an Android app) I really doubt that Spotify will lose. The market wants ability to use streaming on all their devices (Roku, etc) not just Apple. Meanwhile Spotify and Pandora seem to have apps for everything
 

itsmilo

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Sep 15, 2016
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„Apple also forbids Spotify and other developers from alerting users that they can sign up for a subscription or complete a purchase outside of its iOS app, and disallows Spotify from advertising deals to its customers in the app or by email, as these practices would circumvent Apple's in-app purchase system.“

i always thought this part was messed up. it is one thing not allowing 3party apps to be installed from other sources but this is clearly just unfair competition to make sure Apple is getting their share
 

GeoStructural

macrumors regular
Oct 8, 2016
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I am rooting for Spotify on this one.

Get them a-h*les!

I cannot believe how people does not find anticompetitive that Apple does not allow them to tell users they can subscribe outside of their own system. It is already arguably unfair that they even have to pay to develop and publish the app in iOS (without existing an alternative store).
 
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rtomyj

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Sep 3, 2012
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„Apple also forbids Spotify and other developers from alerting users that they can sign up for a subscription or complete a purchase outside of its iOS app, and disallows Spotify from advertising deals to its customers in the app or by email, as these practices would circumvent Apple's in-app purchase system.“

i always thought this part was messed up. it is one thing not allowing 3party apps to be installed from other sources but this is clearly just unfair competition to make sure Apple is getting their share
Hey man, if they used some other SDK to make their app - sure. If it’s on the iPhone they used Apples frameworks which Apple devs built... see where I’m going?
 

GeoStructural

macrumors regular
Oct 8, 2016
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Hey man, if they used some other SDK to make their app - sure. If it’s on the iPhone they used Apples frameworks which Apple devs built... see where I’m going?
I am pretty sure their developers are able to make an app without using “Apple’s frameworks”... the only reason they do it (and most Devs do it) is because they have no other option.
 

AustinIllini

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Oct 20, 2011
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The answer is going to be somewhere in the middle. Apple will make concessions to its competitors and loosen its controls and regulations on the App Store.

Spotify should be able to allow creation of subscriptions on device without paying a penalty to Apple. Apple should be able to charge a finite maintenance fee to keep the App Store safe.

Apple has overstepped its boundaries. Hopefully this is just a matter of Apple loosening the reins.
 

jonblatho

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Jan 20, 2014
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„Apple also forbids Spotify and other developers from alerting users that they can sign up for a subscription or complete a purchase outside of its iOS app, and disallows Spotify from advertising deals to its customers in the app or by email, as these practices would circumvent Apple's in-app purchase system.“

i always thought this part was messed up. it is one thing not allowing 3party apps to be installed from other sources but this is clearly just unfair competition to make sure Apple is getting their share
Yep. Apple could end most or all of this antitrust stuff today if they’d just allow apps to use their own payment systems for digital goods/services.
- - Post merged: - -

The whole point here is that someone wants special treatment. There is nothing really “not to get”.
Does Apple donate to charity the 15–30% it gets from Apple Music subscriptions that Spotify wouldn’t? Spotify’s not the one asking for special treatment; Apple’s wishing to keep theirs.
 

Art Mark

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Jan 6, 2010
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It is getting complicated because things are changing. Just today, Disney has banned Netflix advertising across all it's properties (networks, channels) except ESPN (odd). As it doesn't want to advertise a competitors platform. So is that ok? It seems to be. Disney owns ABC etc and can decide what ads to take and what to reject. I'm not ready to jump on any one answer here, yet. But in general I think Apple can do what Apple wants with its platform. Since it is NOT the largest (by a long shot...most profitable, yes, but not largest by numbers), there is no monopoly argument. But I'm open to changing my mind.
 

Art Mark

macrumors regular
Jan 6, 2010
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I am rooting for Spotify on this one.

Get them a-h*les!

I cannot believe how people does not find anticompetitive that Apple does not allow them to subscribe outside of their own system. It is already arguably unfair that they even have to pay to develop and publish the app in iOS (without existing an alternative store).
The question isn't are companies jerks, or do companies do bad things - cigarette companies literally help kill people but - is it illegal? I don't see that it is. If you carry your point forward I'm not sure it works. The difficulty is in the details. Short of a monopoly situation, and platform wise Apple is small compared to total Android, why would a court force them to do this? I'm not 100% opposed. I just haven't seen a logical argument yet that makes sense across business in general.
 
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thejadedmonkey

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Why should Spotify be exempt from 30 percent fee? If you do not like platform, then remove your app from it. Problem solved.

Spotify wants special treatment that will increase their revenues, which is unfair to other apps and their developers.
If the 30% fee is for hosting the app, why don't developers for free apps have to pay an extra service charge? If the 30% fee is for billing fees, why should Apple care if Spotify chooses to use their own credit card processor?

What Spotify is asking for isn't unfair, unless you're Apple and expect to get 30% of revenue from some apps for doing essentially nothing.
 

macfacts

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Oct 7, 2012
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Why should Spotify be exempt from 30 percent fee? If you do not like platform, then remove your app from it. Problem solved.

Spotify wants special treatment that will increase their revenues, which is unfair to other apps and their developers.
Why do lottery apps not have to pay 30%
 
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jonblatho

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The question isn't are companies jerks, or do companies do bad things - cigarette companies literally help kill people but - is it illegal? I don't see that it is. If you carry your point forward I'm not sure it works. The difficulty is in the details. Short of a monopoly situation, and platform wise Apple is small compared to total Android, why would a court force them to do this? I'm not 100% opposed. I just haven't seen a logical argument yet that makes sense across business in general.
Because the smartphone market is so massive, Apple can behave anticompetitively even within their own segment of the market, especially when they are directly competing with some apps/services…such as Spotify.
 

head_bigg

macrumors newbie
Sep 27, 2019
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I’d rather they focus their energy on actually expanding their services (or in some cases, catch up) instead of wasting money on court fees.
  • Siri support (evidence of work on this but not officially released)
  • Better HomePod support
  • AppleTV support
  • Apple Watch offline playback
  • Lossless / Hifi options
You know... just a few things I’d rather have.
 
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brofkand

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Jun 11, 2006
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The issue is Apple Music doesn't pay a 30% commission to the iTunes/App Store like Apple is expecting Spotify to pay. And yes obviously it's all owned by Apple - but still, Apple Music is getting special treatment with the only way to purchase apps and services on an iPhone. Whether or not that qualifies as monopolistic behavior is not for me to decide.

I think Spotify is in the right. If you make an exception for one category of app (Uber) then you can't really say Spotify isn't also deserving of an exception. Slippery slope. I think Apple should reduce the commission for IAPs and apps themselves and charge it across the board.
 

jonblatho

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Spotify wants all the benefits of being on the most lucrative mobile platform without having to pay for it.
And Apple wants a 15–30% fee from Spotify that it’s not charging itself for the same courtesy. To paraphrase Warren, does Apple want to play the game or be the referee? When you try to do both, you’re practically begging for a justified investigation into anticompetitive behavior when you begin abusing the power you have over competitors.

Edit: Double-posted for some reason; removed the second.
 
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