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

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.


Oil prices surge after attacks hit Saudi output

Updated 16 September 2019

Oil prices surge after attacks hit Saudi output

  • The Houthi attacks hit two Aramco sites and effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply
  • President Donald Trump said Sunday the US was ‘locked and loaded’ to respond to the attacks

HONG KONG: Oil prices saw a record surge Monday after attacks on two Saudi facilities slashed output in the world’s top producer by half, fueling fresh geopolitical fears as Donald Trump blamed Iran and raised the possibility of a military strike on the country.
Brent futures surged $12 in the first few minutes of business — the most in dollar terms since they were launched in 1988 and representing a jump of nearly 20 percent — while WTI jumped more than $8, or 15 percent.
Both contracts pared the gains but were both still more than 10 percent up.
The attack by Tehran-backed Houthi militia in neighboring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, hit two sites owned by state-run giant Aramco and effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply.
Trump said Sunday the US was “locked and loaded” to respond to the attack, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression.”
Tehran denies the accusations but the news revived fears of a conflict in the tinderbox Middle East after a series of attacks on oil tankers earlier this year that were also blamed on Iran.
“Tensions in the Middle East are rising quickly, meaning this story will continue to reverberate this week even after the knee-jerk panic in oil markets this morning,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
Trump authorized the release of US supplies from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, while Aramco said more than half of the five million barrels of production lost will be restored by tomorrow.
But the strikes raise concerns about the security of supplies from the world’s biggest producer.
Oil prices had dropped last week after news that Trump had fired his anti-Iran hawkish national security adviser John Bolton, which was seen as paving the way for an easing of tensions in the region.
“One thing we can say with confidence is that if part of the reason for last week’s fall in oil and improvement in geopolitical risk sentiment was the news of John Bolton’s sacking ... and thoughts this was a precursor to some form of rapprochement between Trump and Iran, then it is no longer valid,” said Ray Attrill at National Australia Bank.