Spotify, others file EU complaint over Apple and Google app store practices

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited May 2017
Apple and Google are being targeted by a host of European internet services firms, including streaming music leader Spotify, that are urging the European Commission to investigate the tech giants over "troubling" app store practices.


Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek. | Source: Spotify


In a letter sent to the European Union's antitrust body, the chief executives of Spotify, streaming music firm Deezer, startup investor Rocket Internet and other Europe-based companies claim dominant internet platforms "can and do abuse their privileged position," reports the Financial Times.

The European companies complain some mobile operating systems, app stores and search engines abuse their commanding marketshare to act as "gatekeepers" to consumer choice, thus impeding segment rivals attempting to market products that compete with first-party services, the letter says.

While not named in the letter, Apple and Google are clearly targets of the complaint. Together, Apple's iOS and Google's Android control more than 90 percent of the mobile operating system market and maintain a set of terms and conditions that third-party apps must follow in order to market their wares on the respective app stores.

In particular, internet companies argue they are not able to access analytics data when customers sign up for service through app store portals. Further, app store owners allegedly promote their own products ahead of third-party offerings. For example, Apple often publishes App Store banners advertising Apple Music, a competitor to Spotify and Deezer.

The letter arrives as the commission considers a drastic overhaul of its digital policy. Among the topics of debate are allegedly unfair contracts mandated by dominant platforms. The antitrust institution is mulling the creation of an independent settlement body that would be tasked with settling disputes between large entities and smaller businesses.

Addressing the discrepancy, CEOs write that common competition law is too costly and onerous, and therefore not applicable to small internet companies. Instead, a "specific rules guiding the interactions between platforms and their business users" is needed, the letter says.

Today's letter is Spotify's latest attack against Apple in a seemingly endless war over streaming music supremacy. Last year, Spotify accused Apple of engaging in anti-competitive practices when a version of Spotify's iOS app was rejected from the App Store. At issue was Apple's customary 30-percent cut of all App Store revenue, which applies to in-app purchases like service subscriptions.

To offset Apple's take, Spotify prices its subscription tier at $13 per month when users sign up through the iOS app, a $3 premium over the $10 users pay when registering through the web. Spotify views the 30-percent cut as "a weapon to harm competitors," noting the terms allow Apple to sell its own Apple Music service for $10 per month.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    macseekermacseeker Posts: 430member
    Awww, I want to cry.  I'd rather have Apple's security than the wild west.
    shrave10magman1979lostkiwiwatto_cobrajbdragon
  • Reply 2 of 27
    shrave10shrave10 Posts: 30member
    Isn't Spotify always gloating how many more millions of subscribers they have over AM? Seems like their numbers don't walk the their talk. Not going to look good in court.
    lostkiwijbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 27
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,090member
    Time to kick Spotify out of the App Store.  ;)
    calipscooter63magman1979lostkiwi
  • Reply 4 of 27
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,591member
    voodooru said:
    apple apologists out in full force. predictable. basement keyboard warriors. 
    But their keyboards seem to have capital letters. 
    anantksundaramronnglynh2old4funindyfxericthehalfbeepscooter63brakkenmagman1979lostkiwi
  • Reply 5 of 27
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Of all people....Spotify. Who's next Uber?
    All these guys do is cry.

    voodooru said:
    apple apologists out in full force. predictable. basement keyboard warriors. 

    It's not their fault Spotify is known for crying and wanting free stuff. 
    ronnStrangeDaysindyfxpscooter63lostkiwijbdragon
  • Reply 6 of 27
    rotateleftbyterotateleftbyte Posts: 1,083member
    voodooru said:
    apple apologists out in full force. predictable. basement keyboard warriors. 
    Errr... I don't have a basement. I guess that makes me unable to comment.... ???? Sheesh.

    magman1979jbdragon
  • Reply 7 of 27
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 560member
    Just because Spotify don't like following rules or having full control over the respective app stores, does not mean the rules are incorrect or anticompetitive. Indeed Spotify appear to be doing quite well as a result of the various app marketplaces. If Apple/Google were specifically targeting them, they could simply shut them out of their stores entirely. Each time Spotify have had trouble with app approvals, it has been due to no fault of their own.
    lostkiwi
  • Reply 8 of 27
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,802member
    shrave10 said:
    Isn't Spotify always gloating how many more millions of subscribers they have over AM? Seems like their numbers don't walk the their talk. Not going to look good in court.
    If they can show that they've dropped or that their growth rate for iOS-baed devices has dropped since Apple Music started, I could see the EU saying that Apple had an unfair advantage. Look what they did to Microsoft long after Internet Explorer was the dominate browser engine being used.
    edited May 2017 Habi_tweet
  • Reply 9 of 27
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,588member
    Looks like Spotify are abusing their monopoly in music streaming to pressure the wee guys.
  • Reply 10 of 27
    davidwdavidw Posts: 971member
    Apple and Google are being targeted by a host of European internet services firms, including streaming music leader Spotify, that are urging the European Commission to investigate the tech giants over "troubling" app store practices.


    Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek. | Source: Spotify


    In a letter sent to the European Union's antitrust body, the chief executives of Spotify, streaming music firm Deezer, startup investor Rocket Internet and other Europe-based companies claim dominant internet platforms "can and do abuse their privileged position," reports the Financial Times.

    The European companies complain some mobile operating systems, app stores and search engines abuse their commanding marketshare to act as "gatekeepers" to consumer choice, thus impeding segment rivals attempting to market products that compete with first-party services, the letter says.

    While not named in the letter, Apple and Google are clearly targets of the complaint. Together, Apple's iOS and Google's Android control more than 90 percent of the mobile operating system market and maintain a set of terms and conditions that third-party apps must follow in order to market their wares on the respective app stores.

    In particular, internet companies argue they are not able to access analytics data when customers sign up for service through app store portals. Further, app store owners allegedly promote their own products ahead of third-party offerings. For example, Apple often publishes App Store banners advertising Apple Music, a competitor to Spotify and Deezer.

    .....


    First of all, even though Apple and Google control over 95% of the World mobile OS market, Apple iOS only account for about 18% of the World market. Google  Android has the other 80%. Therefore, the Apple App Store is not a dominate player. Maybe in the US, where iOS is on about 40% of the devices but surely not in Europe. Plus iOS users can subscribe to Spotify through a web browser. It's not as though iOS users can't subscribe to Spotify at all. So it can't be that great of a loss for Spotify because they don't want to put an app in the Apple App Store and pay the commission.

    Second of all, even though Google control over of the 80% World mobile OS market, Android is "open". Thus one don't have to go through the Google Play Store to install an app into Android. For sure Google have made it so there are advantages to go through the Google Play Store, but it will cost you if you're going to make money on the app.

    Third of all, Apple and Google built, maintain and own their stores. Do BestBuy allow Walmart to advertise their electronics sales, inside BB stores? When I shop at Lucky's, whenever a name brand item goes on sale, Lucky's own store brand also goes on sale and the store brand item is right next to the name brand item. The same as when I shop in Amazon. Amazon will advertise items from their own store, when I'm looking at items from a store in their Marketplace. The business model of a digital store is not that much different from that of a brick and mortar store.

    Fourth of all, Google main (and really only) money making business model is based on collecting analytical data from the people using their products, which most of the time is given away for free and using it to sell targeted advertising. If Spofify want to advertise to a target audience, they can pay Google to do it for them. Google don't have to let someone else collect that data, while in their store and thereby ending up not needing to pay Google for targeted ads. Do movie theaters let you bring in your own popcorn, thus not needing to buy it from the concession stand? The theater concession stand is where theaters makes most of their profits. Most of the revenue from ticket sales goes to pay for the license to show the movie. Spotify basically wants be allowed to bring in their own popcorn, into Google's theater.      
    willcropointshrave10pscooter63lito_lupenaradarthekatlostkiwiwatto_cobrajbdragon
  • Reply 11 of 27
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    voodooru said:
    apple apologists out in full force. predictable. basement keyboard warriors. 
    Did you just pound that out with your forehead without any irony you oblivious idiot.

    Think a bit huh little light. You sought a fucking Apple forum to say this non sequitur crap.. IF anyone's a "warrior" IT IS YOU..

    Guess every damn luxury store should just allow anyone to use their premise to sell their shit.
    Why not give access to their client list to... No value in this at all....

    That's how it should be hey in your little deluded world.


    StrangeDaysradarthekatmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 27
    mejsricmejsric Posts: 133member
    voodooru said:
    apple apologists out in full force. predictable. basement keyboard warriors. 
    imagine a basement with all new Apple devices. all you do is do internet stuff, play games, gf's will just come to have 6, no need to work, daddy is billionaire, thats a heaven basement. 

    You? I only can imagine you are typing in cheap android phone? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 27
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,562member
    I know the internet makes things different however, when you do not own the store you can not tell the store owner how to run their business. I go to my local grocery store and they push their store brand over everything else may be the EU should investigate them for me. 

    At this point as long as they are not blocked access to the market place it all comes down to who has the better product.
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 27
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,583member
    maestro64 said:
    I know the internet makes things different however, when you do not own the store you can not tell the store owner how to run their business. I go to my local grocery store and they push their store brand over everything else may be the EU should investigate them for me. 

    At this point as long as they are not blocked access to the market place it all comes down to who has the better product.
    What's somewhat unfortunate is that in Europe they may end up telling the store owner (Apple/Google) how to run their store. :/
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 27
    shrave10shrave10 Posts: 30member
    Soli said:
    shrave10 said:
    Isn't Spotify always gloating how many more millions of subscribers they have over AM? Seems like their numbers don't walk the their talk. Not going to look good in court.
    If they can show that they've dropped or that their growth rate for iOS-baed devices has dropped since Apple Music started, I could see the EU saying that Apple had an unfair advantage. Look what they did to Microsoft long after Internet Explorer was the dominate browser engine being used.
    Spotify would never have reached this dominant size if Apple store policy was overly biased against them. If Spotify's growth slows because they have over 50 million subscribers and they are not able to roll over competitors as fast, it's not Apple's problem. Even if at some point in the future, AM subscriber takes the lead over Spotify, people may be choosing AM because they like it's integration with their Apple ecosystem. This isn't Apple's fault. All companies work to create the best user experience. Comparing Apple to Microsoft, Apple has around 16% market share in smartphones in EU while Microsoft was and still is a desktop monopoly. People can subscribe to Spotify thru the many deals they have with wireless carriers already. Their deals cover both, iPhones and Android phones sold by wireless carriers. In fact, Apple may want to do a counter-challenge of their own: to expose the dominant music label's licensing contracts with Spotify (which the labels have a stake in) as opposed to their their pricing for Spotify competitors. How is it that Spotify is able to make such attractive offers to carriers as opposed to their competitors?
    lostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 27
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,060member
    irnchriz said:
    Looks like Spotify are abusing their monopoly in music streaming to pressure the wee guys.
    If you only had a brain. Spotify a monopoly? Really? Define monopoly for us please.
    magman1979pscooter63
  • Reply 17 of 27
    shrave10shrave10 Posts: 30member
    lkrupp said:
    irnchriz said:
    Looks like Spotify are abusing their monopoly in music streaming to pressure the wee guys.
    If you only had a brain. Spotify a monopoly? Really? Define monopoly for us please.
    May be he was referring to the music labels abusing their position in the music industry due to their stake in Spotify?
    ronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 27
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,066member
    I would think anyone who wanted Spotify would be aware that they could get it cheaper direct, that they choose not to and pay Spotify's cost passing on to them, really just goes to show the value of the App store, for whatever reason, probably an idea of safety people want to download it from Apple. I'm amazed Spotify passes on the entire cost, I'm sure they just do that to make it look bad. Should Apple host their app for free?
  • Reply 19 of 27
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,854member
    Soli said:
    shrave10 said:
    Isn't Spotify always gloating how many more millions of subscribers they have over AM? Seems like their numbers don't walk the their talk. Not going to look good in court.
    If they can show that they've dropped or that their growth rate for iOS-baed devices has dropped since Apple Music started, I could see the EU saying that Apple had an unfair advantage. Look what they did to Microsoft long after Internet Explorer was the dominate browser engine being used.

    Of course Apple has an "unfair" advantage... they make the hardware and the software that these services run on. People like to compare Android and Windows with Apple's products, but they are not the same. First of all, Apple's platforms are a fraction of the others. Second, Apple makes the entire product. Google and Microsoft take unfair advantage of the fact that a majority of OEMs chose to use their OS/platform, making them market "leaders". That's a huge difference from what Apple does.

    Also, it's only natural that growth rate will drop when a competing service enters the market.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 27
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,802member
    mjtomlin said:
    Soli said:
    shrave10 said:
    Isn't Spotify always gloating how many more millions of subscribers they have over AM? Seems like their numbers don't walk the their talk. Not going to look good in court.
    If they can show that they've dropped or that their growth rate for iOS-baed devices has dropped since Apple Music started, I could see the EU saying that Apple had an unfair advantage. Look what they did to Microsoft long after Internet Explorer was the dominate browser engine being used.
    Of course Apple has an "unfair" advantage... they make the hardware and the software that these services run on. People like to compare Android and Windows with Apple's products, but they are not the same. First of all, Apple's platforms are a fraction of the others. Second, Apple makes the entire product. Google and Microsoft take unfair advantage of the fact that a majority of OEMs chose to use their OS/platform, making them market "leaders". That's a huge difference from what Apple does.

    Also, it's only natural that growth rate will drop when a competing service enters the market.
    Your say it's unfair, but your description sounds fair, to me, because all those companies have a choice to make their HW (and, oddly, both Google and Microsoft, in your examples, do).

    Why do you think Apple's is being anti-competitive?
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