Apple claims Spotify's antitrust claims in a surprisingly deaf and muffled cope


Spotify's war against Apple has just been struck down. After a public relations blitz attacking the "taxes" and "unfair advantages" of the App Store in the market for streaming music, Apple responded with a long statement called "Addressing Claims Spotify".

Unlike Steve Jobs' famous "Thoughts on Music", which was written in response to Apple's FairPlay digital rights management system, this statement was not signed by Tim Cook or Eddie Cue or any other Apple's manager. Despite the use of the editorial "we", it reads as a public relations statement approved by law, which carefully distinguishes each of Spotify's claims with a series of points.

Apple offers many valid and valid arguments, even if they are sandwiched between unnecessarily exaggerated remarks. The first few paragraphs are about Apple's love of music, the iTunes Store Revolution, and billions of dollars for developers. It defines Apple as a charity for good in the digital space and even includes this phrase: "We want more applications companies to thrive, including those that compete with certain aspects of our business because they push us to be better. "

to repair Apple Primary MusicJason Cross / IDG

Apple Music lives without rent in the App Store.

However, this is the last time this statement hints at Apple Music, the competing streaming service from Apple, launched several years after Spotify started selling its own streaming service on the App Store . In fact, the words "Apple" and "Music" never appear side by side throughout the piece. And without answering this question, since Spotify is a direct competitor of Apple Music on all Apple devices, it's hard to take the argument seriously.

Superficial thoughts

When Steve Jobs wrote "Thoughts on Music", it was clear that it came from him. It was written in plain language and had a sincere tone. He explained in simple terms the use of DRM by Apple and presented a solution for the future. He spoke about the competitive advantage of the iPod and Apple with the iPod, but also explained how Apple was willing to comply with its terms. Apple's statement does not do anything.

Instead, it attacks Spotify for daring to question the policies of the App Store and remains stupid when Spotify explains how Apple prevents third-party applications from using certain key features of its product: "We have found Spotify's claims about Apple Watch particularly surprising. When Spotify submitted its Apple Watch app in September 2018, we reviewed and approved it with the same process and speed as any other application. In fact, the Spotify Watch app is currently the # 1 app in the Watch Music category. "

apple apple watchSpotify

The Apple Watch app from Spotify is basically a magnified remote for your iPhone.

This may be true, but Apple fails to mention that third-party apps can not use Siri to search for music or streaming to LTE. The main reason that the Apple Watch Spotify application is essentially an enriched remote is that only Apple Music can use Siri to search for a song, and streaming without iPhone is extremely limited for third-party applications. Even if Spotify were to support offline streaming, songs and playlists must be synchronized and stored on an Apple Watch for playback, which is painful. And it remains to be seen if Apple will allow any other music application to stream to LTE.

Apple also claimed to have "repeatedly contacted Spotify about Siri and AirPlay 2 support," which is an interesting statement. Presumably, Apple refers to the "Play Media" command of iOS 12, which allows third-party applications to tap into shortcuts to offer limited controls for third-party music and video applications. However, while Spotify could technically add support for playing, skipping, and pausing tracks, the streaming feature is extremely limited with respect to Siri unless you use Apple Music. And HomePod is out of the question.

And then there is the main problem at stake: the payment. Apple claims that "Spotify wants to enjoy all the benefits of a free app without being free," a hint of dishonesty. Why? Because that's exactly what Apple gets with Apple Music. And Apple is apparently not conscious enough to see him.

A strategic response

Apple could explain all the reasons why she thinks that Spotify's argument is specious, but it does not provide any real solution to the problem, which will only be exasperated when Apple launches its own video streaming service later this month. this. Spotify does not recognize that the revenue share of 30% falls to 15% after the first year of an annual subscription, but does not offer any concession to its terms.

There is no doubt that Apple does not even manage to reach a common ground. Apple talks about millions of free Spotify customers and happily points out that it is currently involved in a lawsuit about artist royalties, but it never offers a real solution. Apple does not charge fees for apps that sell "physical goods," so Uber and DoorDash are no longer as popular as Spotify. Apple could thus cap recurring subscription fees, further lower the rate for multi-year subscribers or simply remove fees without making the App Store more unstable than today.

spotify free levelSpotify

The free level of Spotify can be the source of most of its Premnium subscriptions, but Apple does not favor Spotify.

Plus, it's hard not to read Apple's statement and wonder about the future. Yes, I know this directly addresses Spotify's accusations made earlier this week, but it's no secret that Apple will be launching its own video service later this month. And there's no question that Netflix, HBO, Hulu and everyone else will have the same argument.

In fact, Netflix has already removed the ability to sign up for the service via iTunes. Instead, users are directed to the Netflix website to avoid paying Apple's discount. Netflix is ​​big enough where he can afford to do it. Spotify is not.

Hulu, the company with which Spotify has just joined, also does not offer a bundled service of $ 10 a month that gives access to these two premium services. This is a threat to Apple's planned launch, and the Spotify statement seems to be a way to publicly publicize the problem before the antitrust arrows start to fly. So I can not help but wonder if Apple would play a different song if no video service was waiting to launch.

Apple may want us to believe that it is an unfair targeting of Spotify and that the App Store is largely responsible for the success of Spotify, but it remains no less than Apple. is paid whenever someone subscribes to Apple Music or Spotify on his iPhone. And if Apple wants to fight for things to stay that way, the least we can do is recognize it. You know, as Steve Jobs would have done.

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