Apple says Spotify wants benefits of a free app without being free

Music site Spotify has complained to European Union regulators about Apple, saying that the US tech giant is abusing its dominant position in music streaming and hurting competition. (File/AFP)
Updated 15 March 2019
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Apple says Spotify wants benefits of a free app without being free

  • Spotify said on Wednesday the company unfairly limits rivals to its own music streaming service
  • In response, Apple said it had approved and distributed nearly 200 app updates on Spotify’s behalf

Apple Inc. on Thursday responded to Spotify Technology SA’s complaint with EU antitrust regulators, saying the audio streaming service “wants all the benefits of a free app without being free.”
Spotify, launched a year after Apple unveiled its first iPhone in 2007, said on Wednesday the company unfairly limits rivals to its own music streaming service.
Apple’s control of its App Store deprived consumers of choice and rival providers of audio streaming services to the benefit of Apple Music, which began in 2015, Spotify added.
In response, Apple said it had approved and distributed nearly 200 app updates on Spotify’s behalf, resulting in over 300 million downloaded copies of the Spotify app.
“The only time we have requested adjustments is when Spotify has tried to sidestep the same rules that every other app follows,” Apple said in a statement.
“Spotify is free to build apps for — and compete on — our products and platforms, and we hope they do,” it added.
The Swedish company has launched a website, outlining different ways in which Apple uses its power to make its platform an “uneven playing field.”
In its reply, Apple has rebutted most of the points made by Spotify on the website, “Time to Play Fair.”
The company had also said Apple’s voice recognition system Siri would not let iPhone users play music from Spotify and that Apple had declined to let Spotify launch an app on its smartwatch.
The Cupertino, California-based company responded by saying that when it reached out to Spotify about Siri and AirPlay 2 support on several occasions, the Swedish company had said that they were working on it.
Spotify was not immediately available to comment on Apple’s response.


For Iranians, economic crisis looms larger than US tensions

Updated 56 min 36 sec ago
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For Iranians, economic crisis looms larger than US tensions

  • Iran’s 80 million people struggle to buy meat, medicine and other staples of daily life
  • Many pointed to the economy, not the possible outbreak of war

TEHRAN: Across Iran’s capital, the talk always seems to come back to how things may get worse.
Battered by US sanctions and its depreciating rial currency, Iran’s 80 million people struggle to buy meat, medicine and other staples of daily life.
Many pointed to the economy, not the possible outbreak of war, as Iran’s major concern. Iran’s rial currency traded at 32,000 to $1 at the time of the 2015 nuclear deal. Now it is at 148,000, and many have seen their life’s savings wiped out.
Nationwide, the unemployment rate is 12 percent. For youth it’s even worse, with a quarter of all young people unemployed, according to Iran’s statistic center.
“The economic situation is very bad, very bad. Unemployment is very high, and those who had jobs have lost theirs,” said Sadeghi, the housewife. “Young people can’t find good jobs, or get married, or become independent.”
Sores Maleki, a 62-year-old retired accountant, said talks with the US to loosen sanctions would help jumpstart Iran’s economy.
“We should go and talk to America with courage and strength. We are able to do that, others have done it,” Maleki said. “We can make concessions and win concessions. We have no other choice.”
But such negotiations will be difficult, said Reza Forghani, a 51-year-old civil servant. He said Iran needed to get the US to “sign a very firm contract that they can’t escape and have to honor.” Otherwise, Iran should drop out of the nuclear deal.
“When someone refuses to keep promises and commitments, you can tolerate it a couple of times, but then certainly you can’t remain committed forever. You will react,” Forghani said. “So I don’t think we should remain committed to the deal until the end.”
Yet for Iran’s youth, many of whom celebrated the signing of the 2015 nuclear deal in the streets, the situation now feels more akin to a funeral. Many openly discuss their options to obtain a visa — any visa — to get abroad.
“Young people have a lot of stress and the future is unknown,” said Hamedzadeh, the 20-year-old civil servant. “The future is so unknown that you can’t plan. The only thing they can do is to somehow leave Iran and build a life abroad.”