Thoughts on Apple's Response to Spotify
The more I read at Apple's response at Spotify, the more I see why I despise Apple's arrogant and aggressive shit at doing business and why I'm glad I'm not on iOS and how great Android and Google is by comparison.
It's an underhanded response—they start off by painting themselves in a good light while putting Spotify in a bad one regarding the music industry (i.e., dodging the actual complaints) while also claiming that Spotify's essentially freeloading off the App Store; saying that Spotify wouldn't be where it is without it—complete with strong-arming and telling Spotify who's boss.
I find this all disingenuous. Apple somehow thinks they're doing a fair service for everyone in the platform, when it's clearly them on a special, higher plane while everyone else squabbles for the rules and tools that they've been walled with by Apple.
They somehow believe that it's their divine right to handle purchases all through the App Store, and that any other way is blasphemous even if you can handle your own customer's payments or even support the app's distribution if it were possible. You can't upgrade to Premium through the app, because that's the App Store's somewhat “hard-earned” money being siphoned from Apple. That then cascades to other mad rules from Apple, like disallowing deals and links to Spotify's own site for Premium. Meanwhile, they started hosting their own music service that is exempt from all that. Apple has nothing to say about that!
It's ridiculous! I would agree with Apple if the App Store actually has alternatives in the iOS ecosystem. It's not as if you could sideload or install another store or let Spotify fairly pay for the troubles of globally hosting its app in the App Store. It's 15-30% for every acquired customer or nothing, and we haven't even covered costs related to iOS development (hardware and their annual Apple Developer Program fees, which should cover the above!) They also refuse other compromises, seeing how other popular services are also affected like Netflix and Amazon.
If anything, the lack of true alternatives is exactly why I view Apple in this way. They say that the rules are even, but we're already 12 versions in iOS and you still can't choose your default browser, music player, cloud storage service and other things that somehow Apple must always be involved.
Until they actually fix that issue and mindset, I refuse to believe that Apple is “playing fair”. But no— it's fit to Apple's authoritative and abusive madness by design, and they're screaming foul when they're the ones that started this in the first place.
On the other hand, Android
In contrast, Android rocks compared to iOS on this front.
You get alternatives on everything, everywhere.
- Hate the Play Store? There's Amazon, Samsung, F-Droid and such. Or you could just, you know, drop an APK and declare that you know the risks of running APKs outside the store.
- You can choose which music player is handling your music.
- Alternative cloud storage services can get effectively the same features as Google Drive does, if not better.
The list goes on. There's obviously some imbalances here and there (see: Google Play Services) but at least there's options for that too thanks to the openness of the platform.
The lack of these are why I despise iOS in the first place. Hell, I know Apple can do it (see: MacOS), but they intended iOS' design to be what we have right now.
Apple basically thinks that Spotify needs to pay back the App Store by:
- Paying 15% – 30% of their Premium signups originating from iOS devices
- Dismissing any types of sales or offers for Premium
- Preventing linking outside of the app to obtain Premium
- Paying annual fees for their developers through the Apple Developer Program
...and after all that, whatever you offer will always be second-rate to anything Apple pushes for the same space
- they'll earn more than you do
- their rules do not apply to themselves; and
- you're even paying a good chunk of your profits on top of all that.
Oh, and anything that breaks any of those and Apple sees you leeching from the greatness of the App Store ecosystem. Ugh!
Either that, or no deal! Don't publish anything on the iOS App Store. This all-or-nothing stuff is exactly why this stuff is anti-competitive, and Apple said nothing about it. They addressed the hardware support at least (slightly) and the updates, but not the heart of the issue, along with the other issues of their own systems by shunning out alternatives in every other field.
May the EC burn Apple on this one. They've succeeded in the past with Microsoft on IE and Google on Search. It's about time for Apple to play fair. Maybe they'll actually let me use frigging Firefox every time I click on a link once they get pushed around.
Sidenote: Funny, because I'm pretty sure Apple will win this one if it was a legal battle on US courts. But I'm confident it'll work for Spotify's on EU. Kinda tells you which kinds of rules are actually in favor of the consumer over companies, don't you think?
Spotify's – Apple, it's Time To Play Fair https://timetoplayfair.com
Apple's Response to the Above https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/03/addressing-spotifys-claims