FTC investigating complaints that Apple is holding back rival music streamers in the App Store

FTC investigating complaints that Apple is holding back rival music streamers in the App Store
According to a new report, Apple is being looked at by the FTC following claims that the tech giant has been holding back rival streamers in the App Store, following the launch of Apple Music at the end of last month. The Agency is making certain that Apple's treatment of rival music streamers isn't against the law. Section Five of the FTC Act prohibits "unfair or deceptive acts or practices," which could be how the FTC goes after Apple if it decides to do so.

While Apple has just launched its own streaming service, it also offers other streaming music apps in the App Store like Spotify, Rhapsody, Jango and others. Apple charges $9.99 a month (after a three-month free trial) for Apple Music, or $14.99 a month for a family of up to six.

Apple also takes a 30% cut of in-app purchases and subscriptions that are made from the App Store. So rival streamers are complaining that since Apple takes a share of their revenue, they are forced to either charge 30% more, or accept a lower profit margin. Either way, rival streamers are not allowed to be competitive.


Other issues being investigated by the FTC include Apple's prohibition against rival streamers advertising in the app that their service is available on other platforms. Also banned by Cupertino are links from a rival streamer's app to its own website. While Google also takes a 30% cut of subscription revenue earned by rival streamers, others say that it does not have as many restrictions as Apple has.

Earlier this year before Apple Music launched, there was talk that the DOJ was investigating Apple. The company reportedly asked music labels during negotiations, to pressure Spotify into dropping its ad-supported free tier of service. Another rumor had Apple telling Universal Music that it would reimburse it for all revenue lost if it would stop providing music to YouTube.

source: Reuters

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57 Comments

1. shiftt

Posts: 333; Member since: May 03, 2015

LOL. It always comes back around. That's sad though, nice to see Apple being threatened. *gets popcorn*

2. AlikMalix unregistered

Did anyone read this? There's absolutely no investigation filed. "Looking into" = spotify complained, probably cried like a baby. But seriously - there's no investigation yet.

3. meanestgenius

Posts: 21485; Member since: May 28, 2014

Wow. Talk about an act of desperation on Apples part....

34. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

So, basically RIM wants to force others to work for it without compensation. This has a name: slavery.

47. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Definition of shady. Better get out the hornet spray.

37. meanestgenius

Posts: 21485; Member since: May 28, 2014

Somebody's feeling salty. http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/06/appeals-court-says-apple-is-liable-for-e-book-price-fixing/ http://gizmodo.com/5914424/sean-parker-apple-tried-to-block-spotify-in-the-us http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/2396798 This last one was how Apple tried to sue Amazon for the use of the generic name "app store", and it was thrown out of court. Apple is the very definition of anti-competitive. You really don't want to go against me as far as Apple's shady business practices go, or about how they try to stifle competition and force things to go their way. You'd lose. Miserably.

4. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Innocent until proven guilty. I only see the IAP being an issue. Let's be fair Apple.

24. tedkord

Posts: 17136; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

That's exactly the standard you held during the Samsung trials, right?

49. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Don't be ignorant

38. meanestgenius

Posts: 21485; Member since: May 28, 2014

And you said you don't attack people for making comments against Apple? So comment #17 is a figment of everyone's imagination? Would you like some crackers to go with that salt?

46. Mxyzptlk unregistered

So says the BlackBerry hornet

42. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

I am sure about about Apple angle of defends. Maybe Apple can act as a land lord and evicts the rest of the competitive Music Stores. Wouldn't that be perfect! Mxyzptik?

48. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Lack of choice is never perfect.

5. AlikMalix unregistered

So rival streamers are complaining that Apple charges for allowing them to place their app on the most profitable App Store in the world? Oh the shame!!! Apple should just maintain the best ecosystem, build up the best customer base, provide in store face-to-face assistance that also provides assistance for rival apps, and who knows what else: and then give this entire setup for free so that spotify can make money without paying a parking fee? Yep - that's how business works. I should probably start building new office buildings in my neighborhood and let businesses use them for free so they can make money...

8. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

No. The problem is first they tried to get an unfair advantage, by telling a company we will pay all your lost revenue if you stop providing tour stuff on tree services like YouTube which is owned by Google, because they want to charge you to see the same stuff so they can make money. Why does Apple always get to make money off others people's stuff, but they cant? Dude. That's like Chrysler coming to Toyota and say hey, we will pay yoi u all tour losto revenue of you stop providing your cars to cab compare ys, so that we can just provide ours so we cab easily compete because we will pay you to leave the game so we can play the gave and not work to earn it like you did. If Microsoft did rhis, the in estimation would already be over.they would been guilty as charge right away. But when it's Apple, oh they are crying. Apple cried when MD decided they could do am even better job if they competed against Apple with a product while still supplying their original agreement. Apple got posses an sued still for theif, for an idea they stole themselves and they wanted to be the one my one making money off it. They did the same with the iPod. They did the same with the iPad and the phone. I have no problem with Apple having a music service, they already had one. Think about this. Apple already provides the same content in times with both a free streaming service and you can buy music and videos too. They already get 30%, when they did nothing but provide a shelf for othwrs. I. Not saying they shouldn't get paid. What I am saying, they already have a services tgat ales th monwy, all they had to do was put Beats into.it and charge for premium options, just like Spotify and others and if you can charge less....do it. But do tell sole guy, hey stop sellimg , let us sell it and we will pay you or too and now tbis. If Microsoft had done this they would be I'm trouble and they did get in trouble le, why not Apple?

10. AlikMalix unregistered

I have no idea what you wrote... Apple charges developers to sell on their App Store. Spotify is crying that they have to raise prices to sell on App Store. Spotify can just stop selling on App Store if they dont like the rules/fees. I wouldn't miss it, before iTunes Radio (former Radio Streaming Service from Apple) I used Pandora and I liked it better than Spotify. If I decide to pay for music - I rather buy the song (or songs) and own it outright. I have never paid streaming services - nor do I plan to subscribe to Apple Music after 3 months trial is over - I use free self-curated Radio Stations on Apple Music over others because of bigger catalog of music (and international music) available on iTunes vs anyone else... but that's just me. All I'm saying is - you dont like how I do my business - use someone else. I'm not just defending Apple.. any business that wants to run their business and charge what ever they want - should do so - it would be their fault for loosing customers (in this case Apple could loose Spotify and others) - and if that upsets apple customers - then apple will loose another part of their business - but the way Apple or Google runs their OWN app store - should not be concern of Spotify, Facebook, or Angry Birds developer...

18. Canaan

Posts: 351; Member since: May 25, 2014

You're not serious are you? Pandora only has 2.5 million songs in catalogue, Spotify has 30 million and you can play from different albums, how is Pandora better?

25. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

With Spotify I can play my own mp3s. I can use it like a mp3 player. Unless Pandora has changed...its no where near as good as Spotify.

35. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Because quantity is not quality, so, when someone says that Pandora is better than Spotify, he's not referring to the number of songs. Besides, you can't possibly listen to more than a few thousand songs in your lifetime, so millions of them are irrelevant.

51. AlikMalix unregistered

Pandora found songs that I liked better than spotify - rarely skipped songs on pandora. (My wife still uses it exclusively. With spotify the songs weren't right ones.

28. tedkord

Posts: 17136; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

What you're missing (or intentionally ignoring) is that the app isn't the issue. The App is free. Apple charges devs nothing for a free app. The streaming content costs, and Apple is taking a 30% cut from that. Every month. And they're not allowing developers to let people know that they can sign up outside Apple and not cause the 30% cut. So, Spotify has the choice of raising is price for Apple users, or taking a loss on them. If they raise prices, that'll make more people move to Apple Music because it's cheaper. If they just suck it up, they lose money and eventually shutter. It gives Apple an unfair advantage, which they're more than willing to utilize. One thing Apple does not like to do is compete for business.

55. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

How's it an unfair advantage that Apple owns the app store, maintains and operates it? That's like saying that a restaurant owner has an unfair advantage over you because he gets to it for free at his own restaurant. If you insist on feeling taken advantage of, you are always free to eat elsewhere. In this case, you're free to use an Android phone and Google Play or Amazon's app store. Just quit moaning. It's infantile.

13. willard12 unregistered

Free....30%, yep, that's about the same. Great use of a non-sequitur.

6. TreyTreyTaylor

Posts: 725; Member since: Dec 21, 2010

See this basically represents open source os vs closed source os. On android, wether it's "profitable" or not, everyone can post their app on the Play Store, Amazon App Store, some website or anywhere and have at least the chance to be successful somehow. On IOS the most "advanced" mobile os there is, apple won't even give some developers a chance to succeed in development. People can hate Android all day long. But the fact that android let's you be in control of your development, publishing, support, and management of your ENTIRE hardware and software makes it the Most Advanced OS in the world. Period. You can't even manage your files on IOS. Forgive me, I hate Apples ways.

7. SitiNurbaya0

Posts: 153; Member since: May 22, 2015

Be Different Not The Same!!!! --- Android Be Different Not The Same!!!! --- Android Be Different Not The Same!!!! --- Android Be Different Not The Same!!!! --- Android Be Different Not The Same!!!! --- Android Be Different Not The Same!!!! --- Android

12. AlikMalix unregistered

Well, I guess that's what separates App Store from Android App Store - one is always maintained the other one is a "junkie" (not hating on Android, just trying to find a word that would describe a depository that anyone can thro whatever good or trash it is)... If you like sorting thru good and bad apps - or number of apps total for you to choose from (good or bad) is what you're after - you have Android.. If you prefer that the millions of apps are screened, and chosen from the rest to insure a better experience - then you have that choice too, called App Store... I actually prefer App Store for another reason - exclusive apps and/or first to have apps (sometimes years before others) like Hyperlapse from instagram developers App Store had years before MS made one for Android. (even enstagram was on App Store for 2 years before available on Android, and many other games and developers that only post on App Store)... Not saying either App Depository is better or worse, but they are defenatly different - and that's a good thing, dont you think?

19. bambamboogy02

Posts: 834; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

If you like being a sheep, and can't choose for yourself what best suites your needs, go with your App store, where things are choosen for you. You probably still let mommy pick out your clothes and lay them in neat outfits so you can choose the best one.

26. tedkord

Posts: 17136; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Apple appears screened, alright. Screened to make sure you can't sell anything without Apple getting a cut. Screened to be sure you can't advertise a cheaper way to get the content. Not so much screened for quality (most of the millions of Apps are garbage that no one is downloading) or for safety (people have no problem sneaking in malicious code, and do so somewhat frequently just to prove your easy it is. And that's just the honest devs, who want to shine a spotlight on the issue, we have no idea how many cretins have posted crap.)

30. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

Its much harder to develop apps for Android than iOS. For Android you need to worry about app working properly on thousand of different combinations of hardware while on iOS you have chips that you can count on your hand. Same thing is happening on PC-Console... On PC you can be flexible with hardware but if you buy PS4 or XBOX1 your are stuck with and cant change nothing thats why most notorious game devs develop a game on console and just port it to PC.

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