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US senator hits out at Apple for abusing market dominance to hinder streaming music rivals

By | Published on Thursday 30 June 2016

Apple Music

US Democrat senator Elizabeth Warren has hit out at Apple, Google and Amazon for using their mega-size to “snuff out competition” in a speech at an event in Washington called ‘America’s Monopoly Problem’.

Picking out individual examples of how the three big tech giants have each arguably abused their market dominance to the detriment of smaller rivals, Warren said, according to 9To5Mac: “Google, Apple and Amazon have created disruptive technologies that changed the world, and … they deserve to be highly profitable and successful. But the opportunity to compete must remain open for new entrants and smaller competitors that want their chance to change the world again”.

Although the music industry prefers bashing Google to Amazon and Apple these days, it was the latter where Warren picked a music-based example, noting that the IT firm “has placed conditions on its rivals that make it difficult for them to offer competitive streaming services”.

That particular issue was back in the news relatively recently, of course, when Apple announced it would cut the commission it charges other companies – like streaming services – which collect subscriptions through their iOS apps. Though, as previously reported, when that was announced, Spotify remained critical of Apple, which is now a direct competitor in the streaming music space, of course.

After Warren’s remarks, Re/code spoke to Spotify for an immediate response. “Apple has long used its control of iOS to squash competition in music, driving up the prices of its competitors, inappropriately forbidding us from telling our customers about lower prices, and giving itself unfair advantages across its platform through everything from the lock screen to Siri”, said Spotify’s top comms man Jonathan Prince.

He went on: “You know there’s something wrong when Apple makes more off a Spotify subscription than it does off an Apple Music subscription and doesn’t share any of that with the music industry. They want to have their cake and eat everyone else’s too”.

Ah, cake, that would nice wouldn’t it? They sell really good banana cake in the hotel I’m currently staying in. But anyway, take that Apple. And Amazon. And Google. And Spotify. Oh no, not Spotify. You’re all groovy. Elizabeth Warren says so. Have some cake to celebrate.