It was probably bound to happen sooner or later, when small online businesses utilizing major brand-name tech platforms (social media, hardware, op systems, etc.) end up becoming significant competitors of certain features of those selfsame platforms, the big companies end up putting unsporting pressure on the little guys operating through their services so as to stop them from cutting into their own business profits. It’s technically dirty, it’s borderline cheating, and it’s happening a lot.
So it was that on the final week of June, the Sweden/UK-based commercial music streaming, video and podcast service Spotify has cried foul against tech juggernaut Apple for unjustly curbing competition, according to Recode.net. In a July 26 letter sent by the company to Apple’s lawyers, Spotify accused Apple of blocking the approval of a new version of its iOS app to be made available on the Apple Store, ostensibly due to violations of “business model regulations” because Spotify refused to abide by Apple’s billing system that slapped a 30% “Apple tax” on top of the base subscription fee ($10 Spotify subscription plus 30% or $3 billing fee when buying through the Apple Store).
But the truth, according to Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez’s letter to his opposite number on Apple, Bruce Sewell, is that the quashing of the Spotify app upgrade by Apple was the latest concrete action by the company to undercut and marginalize Spotify as a business competitor to Apple Music, their fairly recent in-house music streaming service that launched only in 2015 compared to Spotify’s 2008.
Mac World reports that Spotify had circulated copies of their letter to Apple in the US Congress at Washington DC, spurring Senator Elizabeth Warren (D, MA) to deliver a dressing down of Apple, as well as Google and Amazon for their general attitude of “anticompetitive measures” designed to punish and lock out smaller companies and newcomer firms if they happen to offer a service competing with their utilized platforms.
Gutierrez further stated that Spotify would not stand for Apple using its App Store approval process as a weapon against its competition, while Spotify communications and public policy head Jonathan Prince cited how Apple’s fees jacked the prices of rival services, prohibited them from informing customers of special offers, and setting up unfair platform advantages, all in all acting like they wanted to have their cake and eat the others’ share as well.
Earlier this year, Apple had shut down a Spotify special offer of a 3-month, $0.99-per- month subscription if the customer bought it directly from the Spotify website instead of through the app, under threat that the service will be banned from the Apple Store. Spotify retaliated by disabling the Apple billing system on their app. This turn of events illustrate an alarming domination by tech platforms that could see dark clouds ahead for little online business and services.
Photo Credit to en.yibada.com