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Apple Trying To Kill Off Spotify's Free Tier; DOJ Now Investigating For Antitrust

from the tempting-the-anti-trust-gods dept

Remember a few years ago when Apple got in trouble for conspiring with book publishers to raise ebook prices to hurt Amazon and the public? Apparently the company hasn’t learned very much. Today comes a report from the Verge, claiming that the DOJ is now investigating Apple for conspiring with the major record labels to get them to kill off Spotify’s free tier, in an effort to better promote its own Beats Music service, which has no free tier.

Apple has been using its considerable power in the music industry to stop the music labels from renewing Spotify?s license to stream music through its free tier. Spotify currently has 60 million listeners, but only 15 million of them are paid users. Getting the music labels to kill the freemium tiers from Spotify and others could put Apple in prime position to grab a large swath of new users when it launches its own streaming service, which is widely expected to feature a considerable amount of exclusive content. “All the way up to Tim Cook, these guys are cutthroat,” one music industry source said.

And it’s not just Spotify. Apparently, Apple was trying to get labels to pull music from YouTube too:

Sources also indicated that Apple offered to pay YouTube?s music licensing fee to Universal Music Group if the label stopped allowing its songs on YouTube. Apple is seemingly trying to clear a path before its streaming service launches, which is expected to debut at WWDC in June. If Apple convinces the labels to stop licensing freemium services from Spotify and YouTube, it could take out a significant portion of business from its two largest music competitors.

This is fascinating for a few reasons, even beyond Apple’s antitrust troubles over ebooks. In fact, there’s some history here as well. A few years ago, there was an investigation, after Apple tried to pressure the labels into killing off daily deals that they were offering to Amazon, as it harmed Apple’s iTunes business.

And, of course, there’s the long history of the labels’ relationship with Apple for much of the first decade of the millennium. Almost exactly a decade ago, we wrote about how the music labels all resented Apple because it had become such a dominant force in music with iTunes and the iPod (this was pre-iPhone) and had (for a while, at least) blocked the labels from trying to raise the price of single tracks beyond the original $0.99 price point. Of course, it’s quite a sign of how the online music industry has shifted from downloads to streaming that those labels are apparently now working with Apple to focus on trying to stop competitors like Spotify and YouTube.

Just a month or so ago, we noted that there had been a series of articles claiming that the labels themselves were conspiring to put an end to free tiers on Spotify and other services, and we pointed out how stupid this was (mainly in the context of Jay-Z’s new “Tidal” service). Bringing Apple into the game as well just makes the whole thing that much more ridiculous.

Rather than trying to build a better experience for users and give them more value, it appears that the labels and Apples are looking to decrease the value of competitors through coordinated action. It really says something — and not something good — when a company thinks the only way to compete in the market place is to kneecap competitors rather than build a better service itself. Competition has shown that great services can be built when they actually do focus on what consumers want. And there’s still a long way to go. Spotify still has significant problems, but it’s pretty good right now. It’s astounding that Apple and the labels think that the right solution is not to build an even better product, but rather to make everyone else’s products worse. Once again, it makes you wonder if they actually want to drive consumers back to completely unauthorized services.

And here’s the thing that’s really bizarre: why should Apple care about this at all? Apple is a hardware business. Even when iTunes was dominant, people at Apple would quietly admit that it was considered a “loss leader” or maybe a “breakeven leader” with the focus on selling more hardware. The same should be true of a streaming music service. Beats can make iPhones even more valuable — and one way to do that is by offering a free streaming tier. Why Apple wants to take away its own value seems like a strategic error all around — not just for consumers and competitors, but for itself as well.

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Companies: apple, riaa, spotify, youtube

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Comments on “Apple Trying To Kill Off Spotify's Free Tier; DOJ Now Investigating For Antitrust”

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98 Comments
ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: SOP for Apple

They are a very, very nasty company.

They’ve always been a nasty company to their customers.

They started the product upgrade staircase. If you want to run the latest software, you had to buy the latest hardware. And hardware was really expensive compared to the alternative, even back in the Apple IIe/IIc era. If you want to know why you have to upgrade to the latest iPhone to run the latest software every year, you need only look back to the Apple IIe/IIc/IIgs/Mac/Mac Pro/Mac II days. My Mac Mini G4 was supported for a whopping 9 months before they discontinued the PowerPC line and switched to Intel (it now runs powerpc Debian.) After that point, I couldn’t update the OS.

They offer business customers a lease program for their hardware, which refreshes every few years, but users don’t get that. Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple Hardware, but I tend to install something a little more open on the hardware whenever I can (I can still run Mac OS X in a virtual machine if I need targets,) but the company has always been about the mighty dollar over customer’s wants and needs.

Apple’s greatest trick was convincing people they needed to spend far more than necessary on hardware available from their competitors for far cheaper, and I believe that they’ve gotten lazy in their later years of just outlawing or destroying their competitors instead of putting all the work into getting their customers to shell out more money to replace their existing models with newer ones.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: SOP for Apple

If you want to know why you have to upgrade to the latest iPhone to run the latest software every year,

I’m not a iPhone person, but isn’t the latest OS available to devices that are several years old? I know for certain they offer OS upgrades for free to older devices (just don’t know exactly how old). They don’t put out a new OS and tell everyone they have to buy a new phone to get it.

Feels a little weird to defend Apple…

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: SOP for Apple

I’m not a iPhone person, but isn’t the latest OS available to devices that are several years old? I know for certain they offer OS upgrades for free to older devices (just don’t know exactly how old). They don’t put out a new OS and tell everyone they have to buy a new phone to get it.

The iPhone 4 can only run ios 7.1.2. Here is the list of maximum OS versions for phones:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_iOS_devices

If you have a iPhone 4s or later, you can run the latest operating system. Now the iPhone 4 is 5 years old, so yes, maybe most folks have already bought a new phone, but my Samsung Galaxy S2 runs Cyanogenmod 11.0 (albiet a little slowly) without complaint. I know of a few people out there that still have iPhone 4s that can’t upgrade.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 SOP for Apple

It’s true that you can’t run the latest on the oldest hardware, but in cell phone terms 5 years is elderly, and 7.1.2 is not even a year old. As always, Android gives you more freedom to do what you want with your hardware, but honestly I think Apple is doing pretty well on this particular issue.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 SOP for Apple

It’s true that you can’t run the latest on the oldest hardware, but in cell phone terms 5 years is elderly, and 7.1.2 is not even a year old.

I guess it depends on who purchased the phone. I guess for those of us that purchase their own phone for $500-1000, we want it to last for a while (at least 5 years.) But if you had your phone subsidized, replacing it every two years is no big deal. Speaking of which, probably should start looking for a new phone since my phone is that old.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 SOP for Apple

I guess for those of us that purchase their own phone for $500-1000, we want it to last for a while (at least 5 years.)

How long the phone lasts is a separate question from whether new software will run on it. I would think one problem with the longevity of an iPhone would be the difficulty of replacing the battery. Some newer Android phones have the same issue.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 SOP for Apple

How long the phone lasts is a separate question from whether new software will run on it. I would think one problem with the longevity of an iPhone would be the difficulty of replacing the battery. Some newer Android phones have the same issue.

I absolutely agree. But my original gripe was on how quickly Apple tends to EOL the devices. Maybe the iPhone was a bad example, though as I stated, I know people with a working iPhone 4 that complain, quite loudly, about not being able to run the latest version of ios. And I do have personal experience with them EOL’ing my Mac Mini I purchased in 2005 for ~$700 in Feb of 2006.

I tend to be more of a fanboy of Apple than the alternative, especially when it comes to my 2011 MacBook Pro, but that device isn’t in a walled garden though, and runs Debian Linux perfectly fine. But I am tired of spending good money on a device with a life expectancy of less than 5 years (which is also why I avoid ASUS Transformers like the plague, since with their encrypted bootsector and every single one I’ve owned dying within 2 years of buying it, I cannot justify the expense.)

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 SOP for Apple

“though as I stated, I know people with a working iPhone 4 that complain, quite loudly, about not being able to run the latest version of ios.”

My response would be – why? Apart from the cosmetic look, most of the new features are specifically designed to take advantage of the hardware in newer phones that isn’t present in the 4. Performance-wise, it would run like a dog even with those turned off – which is a primary reason why Apple doesn’t support it.

Are they missing something they actually want/need that is possible on an iPhone 4, or are they just wanting the new shiny thing without wanting to pay for it? I can see maybe not being able to get certain app upgrades, but even then that might just be a developer wanting to use something not possible on the 4.

“And I do have personal experience with them EOL’ing my Mac Mini I purchased in 2005 for ~$700 in Feb of 2006. “

Weird, my mid-2010 model Mac Mini was perfectly compatible with Yosemite, which I downloaded from Apple on launch day with no issues. It just doesn’t have a few of the extra features like Handoff and AirDrop.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 SOP for Apple

“And I do have personal experience with them EOL’ing my Mac Mini I purchased in 2005 for ~$700 in Feb of 2006. “

Weird, my mid-2010 model Mac Mini was perfectly compatible with Yosemite, which I downloaded from Apple on launch day with no issues. It just doesn’t have a few of the extra features like Handoff and AirDrop.

As stated above, Apple switched from PowerPC in their 2005 model of Mac Mini to Intel in February 2006. In 2005, the OS was MacOSX 10.4. Apple decided to discontinue PowerPC in 10.5. You could buy a copy of Leopard and install it over Tiger, but that was it. Someone figured out how to install 10.6 on top of PowerPC, but it wasn’t officially sanctioned.

Any version of Intel MacMini should run Yosimite.

I couldn’t see buying an Intel version of MacMini after they got me to sump the money on a PowerPC version and then EOL’d it 9 months after selling it.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 SOP for Apple

Ah, that makes more sense and I can see why that would leave a bad taste in your mouth. I’d have been arguing with them for a supported replacement since they discontinued it within the warranty, and taking it further with trading standards, etc. if they refused.

But, I’d still say it’s a rather unique case, as it’s highly unusual for such a massive fundamental architecture change to take place. But, yeah, I wouldn’t have been buying another.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 SOP for Apple

Ah, that makes more sense and I can see why that would leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Don’t get me wrong…Apple makes great hardware (expensive, but great,) and I have no problem buying Apples, so long as you go in with the realization that the computer you just spent a lot of money on will likely not be supported in the future (the distance to that point in the future is variable, and depends on the whims of the company, not you.)

And their stuff runs Debian quite well (and actually, my PowerPC MacMini runs faster with Debian than it ran with MacOSX, which I use as a Kiosk machine.) The added advantage of running Debian on a Mac is that you can run MacOS X virtual machines (legally) without much difficulty, though hackintoshes make it pretty simple too (though less legally.)

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers… It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.

— Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

“Competition is a sin.”

— John D. Rockefeller

There is nothing new under the sun
— Ecclesiastes, The Bible

DogBreath says:

Re: Re:

I think these also apply in this situation:

“10. Greed is eternal.”

“45. Expand, or die.”

“97. Enough … is never enough.”

“189. Let others keep their reputation. You keep their money.”

242. More is good … all is better.

— Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

or as Quark so eloquently put it: “Every Ferengi business transaction is governed by 285 rules of acquisition to ensure a fair and honest deal for all parties concerned… well most of them anyway.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Seems Apple doesn't want to compete with free.

>>> Apple is a hardware business.

Umm, true up to a point, but Apple is mostly selling the sizzle and not the steak. I’ve long wondered how it sells crappy hardware at exorbitant prices with authoritarian policies. Proves modern markets aren’t rational.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Seems Apple doesn't want to compete with free.

I’ve just commented that the quality of the parts appears to be better then parts of similar capability. My battery, screen, touch pad, power supply, and motherboard have all lasted longer then in any other laptop i have owned. The case is more durable then any case not designed for durability (and those are also expensive). Being under powered for its price is NOT an indicator of low quality, just being overpriced. So, please tell me by objective measurement, in what way is Apple desktop/laptop hardware lower quality then comparable hardware?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Seems Apple doesn't want to compete with free.

Quality is subjective. Basically it means fitness for use. I can’t tell you whats best for you, and you cant tell me whats best for me. We each have our ‘desired qualities.’

Value = quality (fitness for use) divided by Cost.

In my book, the qualities of products from less artificially restricted products offer better value.

I understand they might be great for you, but in the others guys assessment, he says crap, and he is right. and you are right too. but not for each other.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Seems Apple doesn't want to compete with free.

Value = quality (fitness for use) divided by Cost.

Every iPhone comes with no real keyboard, only an on-screen keyboard.

If you hold the phone vertically, (“portrait” orientation,) the “keys” are tiny and accuracy suffers horribly.

If you hold the phone horizontally, (“landscape” orientation), the keys are decent-sized, but the keyboard blocks a significant amount of the screen space, so it’s very hard to see what you’re working on.

Either way, it violates Einstein’s maxim: make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Value = fitness for use / cost. 0 divided by anything = 0. Only an iDiot would buy an iPhone.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Seems Apple doesn't want to compete with free.

I have owned 2 Android phones and 2 iPhones. Neither has had a “real” keyboard, nor does the shitty Windows phone one of my friends is always complaining about owning. You can obtain them, but none of them have keyboard out of the box.

Look, I understand you have a preference, but can we keep the fanboy wankfest away from these conversations, or at least stick to criticisms that don’t apply to all available platforms? If the iPhone lacks features you prefer to have, don’t buy one. If you prefer Android, buy one of those. Everyone else makes similar decisions based on their own preferences. End of story.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Seems Apple doesn't want to compete with free.

Reading your comments on quality they all seem to indicate the only indicator of quality for you is power. I can’t seem to determine how you establish that apple components are low quality compared to similar machines. If the lack of software reduces your ‘fitness for use’, thats not a hardware issue. No matter what your measurement, equal amounts of RAM are just as fit for use. The only real ‘artificial’ restriction of the hardware is the lack of support for non-established configurations, and that’s artificial only in that Apple doesn’t want to create drivers and support drivers for it.

The way you describe your problems with Apple, you are discussing their SOFTWARE and its walled gardens, whose potentially poor value does not impact the quality of the hardware.

Also, what you wanted to say was “In my book, the qualities of products from less artificially restricted products is better”. The way you stated it, quality would universally increase value, no matter the cost, which isn’t the case by your value formula.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Seems Apple doesn't want to compete with free.

I think his point was that “quality” is a subjective thing. Or, maybe that’s how I read it because I agree with that sentiment.

As an example, I have never considered Apple products to be of unusually high quality. Their quality level is fine, but I can easily find equivalent non-Apple products that are of better or worse quality.

When I’ve asked Apple fans to say what makes Apple products high quality, their responses are almost always about aesthetics — which is a totally valid benchmark! However, for me personally, aesthetics don’t enter into the “quality equation” unless they are truly abysmal or we’re talking about something intended to be ornamental. And I’m right, too!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Seems Apple doesn't want to compete with free.

Yes, but it is assumed that with quality comes additional cost. Quality is like a feature, that you desire.

Free is difficult to deal with. that is infinite value.

But generally it is on the margins of options. the increments. Each option delivers a ratio of desired features per cost and your best bet is the one with the highest value.

You decide the features and can even weight them. Score each option and call that its feature score and divide by cost.

Im not making this up. This is the definition of value in a business type environment.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Seems Apple doesn't want to compete with free.

“Free is difficult to deal with. that is infinite value.”

Not automatically. I can easily come up with a list of things that I can get for free, but present a negative value to me (so I don’t take them).

“This is the definition of value in a business type environment.”

That’s not irrational. It’s your basic cost/benefit calculation. It’s pretty much how we determine value for anything — even things that aren’t products and that we aren’t purchasing.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Seems Apple doesn't want to compete with free.

From my experience supporting IBM-compatible PCs as opposed to Apple’s hardware, the average consumer is best kept away from the internals of any of them. Especially cheapskates who think they know what they’re doing and fancy saving a bit of cash on actual decent hardware and/or servicing the workings of the OS.

Both paradigms have good and bad points, but clueless idiots should be kept away from the inner workings of either. When I used to support the public many moons ago, I’ve seen PCs that have lasted a decade and Macs that have lasted 6 months, but it will always be the guy who bought a cheap-ass PC and assumed that he knew what he was doing who would cause the most damage (and whine the hardest about how he wasn’t responsible).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Seems Apple doesn't want to compete with free.

Apple machines are largely made with the same part sourcing methods everyone else uses. Apple just cherry picks components like screens and chassis the way grocery stores sell milk and bread. It doesn’t matter how the rest of the whole looks, consumers will base their opinion of the business on two components so spend a little more on those (or sell the products for less than the local competition.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Seems Apple doesn't want to compete with free.

Plus the make up ‘words’ to hide the specs. The specs (or quality if you must) is not a factor when this thing has a Retina monitor – I mean that must be good – right? Retina has to be better than a monitor that doesn’t have a flashy name.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s all for your own good. Apple controlling music will be for your own good too.

It’s a Walled Garden, not a Prison Camp.

The content is Curated, not Censored.

The rules to get content and apps approved are not arbitrary and capricious; they are secret. Apple doesn’t want to publish rules that merely make reference to bad things which you should not be exposed to.

It’s not that Apple telling you what you may and may not think; they are protecting you from being exposed to bad ideas, for your own good.

With Music, Apple now wants to help guide you to listen to what music it knows you will agree to like and pay Apple for telling you to like it.

You know the quality must be good because of the high prices.

That One Guy (profile) says:

In a well lit office in a building far, far away...

DoJ: We’re looking for anti-trust investigations, have you seen any?

Apple: These are not the anti-trust violations you are looking for. *waving stack of hundreds*

DoJ: These aren’t the anti-trust violations we’re looking for.

Apple: You should investigate Spotify for anti-trust violations, then drop the case once they’ve taken a PR beating because of it.

DoJ: We will investigate Spotify for anti-trust violations, and then drop the case later.

Apple: Move along.

DoJ: Move along.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

I have to say, I never understood how Apple refusing to sell e-books at a loss was considered price fixing, or how preventing real media files from working on iPods allowed them to increase the price of the iPod, but if the rumors are true (and nothing linked is anything but hearsay) then this is most certainly an anti-trust violation I can understand, and support penalizing apple for.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“I never understood how Apple refusing to sell e-books at a loss was considered price fixing”

That wasn’t the issue. The issue was that Apple was conspiring with publishers to set a minimum price the publishers would require regardless of where they sold their e-books. It was classic, old-school price-fixing.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

You know that wasn’t highlighted in any of the coverage I read about it. And I guess the news that did never really highlighted the evidence that Apple pushed/required publishers to change their pricing in other markets. But ok.

I was really basing my commentary on Techdirt’s discussion of the verdict (which was similar to others I read at the time, which highlighted this gem from the decision:

If Apple is alluding to the fact that Amazon’s Kindle bookstore was the dominant e-retailer for books in 2009, and that the arrival of the iBookstore created another e-retailer, that is true. But, as this Opinion explains, Apple demanded, as a precondition of its entry into the market, that it would not have to compete with Amazon on price. Thus, from the consumer’s perspective — a not unimportant perspective in the field of antitrust — the arrival of the iBookstore brought less price competition and higher prices.

The impression I got from that is that Apple was convicted of price fixing because Apple refused to try to compete in a market where the dominant player sold its products at a loss. And so, given the model is that Apple doesn’t set pricing, I was confused as to how Apple was setting prices.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Given that when publishers were given an option besides the sell to a middle man who sells to the customers (aka sell directly), they jumped on the price-fixing bandwagon, I don’t think getting rid of Amazon and book stores is the option you really should be the point you should argue.

And conversely, getting rid of the publishers doesn’t solve Amazon’s policy of selling e-books at a loss. And once you get rid of all middle men, you have no distribution network to reach your fans.

So really, Im just having a hard time figuring out your point in that sarcastic post.

jilocasin says:

Re: Re: Re: Google is your friend....

I’m surprised to hear that nothing you read mentioned to collusion with the publishers, the forced change from wholesale/retail to agent, the most favored nation status that Apple enjoyed.

Google is your friend:

http://www.macworld.com/article/2044007/judge-rules-apple-colluded-with-publishers-to-fix-ebook-prices.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/10/us-apple-ebooks-idUSBRE9690GE20130710

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/apr/11/apple-accused-fixing-prices-ebooks

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2044009/apple-colluded-with-book-publishers-on-ebook-prices-judge-rules.html

https://fortune.com/2013/07/10/apple-found-guilty-of-colluding-to-raise-e-book-prices/

http://www.cnet.com/news/doj-apple-colluded-with-publishers-to-raise-e-book-prices/

http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2011/10/did-apple-collude-with-publishers-to-fix-prices-on-e-books276/

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/apple-loses-governments-antitrust-lawsuit-583093

From TechDirt.com:

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120411/07155418453/breaking-us-sues-apple-publishers-over-ebook-price-fixing.shtml

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120309/03540318044/us-government-finally-realizes-that-publishers-apple-conspiring-to-raise-ebook-prices-is-price-fixing.shtml

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120830/13190220221/first-round-ebook-price-fixing-settlements-are-announced.shtml

And the paperwork from the court itself:

http://www.nysd.uscourts.gov/cases/show.php?db=special&id=306

RD says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Google is your friend....

“I’m surprised to hear that nothing you read mentioned to collusion with the publishers, the forced change from wholesale/retail to agent, the most favored nation status that Apple enjoyed.”

Why should you be surprised? Willful blindness and intentional ignorance rules the day with shills posting here.

jilocasin (profile) says:

Re: Then you weren't paying attention

The issue was never about Apple refusing to sell at a loss. If that’s all they were doing, no one would really care.

As far as eBooks:

What Apple did was:
1. Refuse to sell at less than a 30% mark up (note, we aren’t even close to a loss).
2. Ensure that no_one else could sell eBooks for any price below what Apple was charging.
3. Collude with publishers to force other sellers (especially the current market leader Amazon) to switch from a wholesale/retail model to an agent model to enforce #2.

#1 was Apple’s choice, #2 harmed consumers, #3 was illegal under anti-trust laws.

In the end Apple didn’t have to compete on price. The publishers got more money, and everyone else ended up paying more than they would have (and previously were) in the face of honest competition.

The RealMedia case was two fold.

First, preventing RealMedia files from running on iPods (the current market leader) ensured that you would have to go to the Apple store (and pay Apple prices) to get music for your shiny new iPod. IF people could go to other stores for music, then Apple’s position would be significantly weakened.

Second, preventing iTunes music files from playing on any music player other then iPods (iTunes on the desktop doesn’t count as it’s not a portable player) means it is less likely that people would purchase an iPod competitor. Imagine you have a hundred songs in an Apple music format. Would you buy anything other than another iPod if doing so meant you couldn’t play the music files you had already bought?

Once again, Apple was using ‘dirty tricks’ to kneecap the competition.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Then you weren't paying attention

Yeah, as I pointed out, the coverage of the decision highlighted some really weird logic jumps. I grant that want I read of the coverage of the case easily could have left out the parts I needed to understand it.

And that very well could have been the problem with the coverage of the iPod case. But everywhere I looked, I got the same complaint, that by cutting out RealMedia files from the iPod (the anti-Harmony measures), Apple was able to charge more for the iPod. In other words the iPod’s DRM increased the value of the iPod. I could see arguments that the iTunes DRM increased the value of the iPod (and given that the content creators wanted it, it can’t be completely blamed on Apple), or that the iPod DRM increased the value of iTunes, but not that the iPod DRM increased the value of the iPod.

FM Hilton (profile) says:

Apple's past sins

Just ask the surviving Beatles about the huge legal mess they had with Apple about their logo..and they became very disillusioned before Apple became so well know for their downloads and music.

Their bad attitude suddenly stopped when they came to an agreement regarding their position on the Apple music list, making Apple becoming quite rich in the process. They had never signed a subsequent contract with any music company since they left Capitol Records, I do believe.

The only reason Apple didn’t steal the music was that they knew they had the upper hand in distribution and they could make the deal.

jilocasin (profile) says:

Lots of reasons.....

If you are thinking of apple as a hardware only company I think you are being rather short sighted. I would wager Apple makes more money form ‘curating’ their app store than they ever make selling hardware.

Here’s a thought (complete speculation of course):

Apple _kneecaps_ all of the other streaming music services.
The majority of people have to go to Apple to get legal streaming services.

Apple can:
-make streaming services work ‘better’ on Apple hardware than anyone elses.
-charge whatever they want.
-access a ‘fee’ from musicians/labels to host their music in the Apple store (app store fees all over again).
-leverage all those music fan eyeballs to push other things.
-sell ads and collect all the money.

Just as in the eBook case, Apple and the labels (substituted for publishers) make more money, and the consumer is charged a higher price for a potentially inferior product. Cabals being so much more profitable than actually competing.

Of course, ironically, the puts Apple back in the same position they were in regarding downloads, with Apple in control and the labels dependent on Apple.

RD says:

Re: dirt on technology

“Didn’t this site used to talk about technology sometimes? Or has it always been copyright and patent talk?”

The answer to your question is “yes.”

This site is, and always has been (at least as long as I’ve been coming here – 13 years) about tech and the political, legal, and sociological issues surrounding tech. Copyright and patent talk has been a part of the articles and discussion at this site for a very long time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Perhaps platforms that enable a complete disregard for copyright law are the only effective way to safegard the public interest.

It seems to me that the goverment doesn’t have enough teeth or is incapable (I’ll refrain from going so far as “unwilling”) of using them, and that copyright-inundated private organizations are incapable of or unwilling to operate in a manner that doesn’t destroy what is in the public’s interest.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You are seeing things that do not exist. My comment contained no reverse logic or fanboyisms.

Platforms which allow users to do things without caring whether or not those users are playing within the ever-shrinking realm of “acceptable according to the big copyright conglomerates” are probably some of the most powerful forces acting in the public interest. What do movie and music studios do? What do typical software development behemonths do?

You have taken a sensible, topical comment and made it out to be something it was never intended to be by commenting with a kneejerk conspiracy/troll theory before thinking. Gratz.

Manabi (profile) says:

Well this move is already driving piracy

This is insanely stupid and short-sighted. I recently was hunting for an old album and found it on Spotify. I was quite happy to listen to it for free and legally. But now that this is happening I’ll be looking to stream rip it. That way I’ll still be able to listen to it if Spotify has to kill the free tier.

This helped piracy how exactly? Now they’re going from some money via my legal streaming to zero money with my stream ripping. Brilliant move guys!

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t do Apple and never have. Such a move would not drive me to iTunes. I’ve never been on iTunes and I won’t be there either.

What this whole thing will do should it be successful on Apple’s part will just revamp the piracy angle which is what Spotify has managed to put a dent in. Of course this is about the bottom line, not about the issue of piracy. They are not going to get money, nor eyeballs for ads, that way.

Eponymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Once upon a time, I got an iPod. It was shiny and new, held a lot of music, and the earbuds were both physically and acoustically painful, appealing to my masochistic streak.

One day, I wanted to plug my iPod into my work computer to listen to some tunes through my powered speakers. iTunes, which I had installed on my work computer expressly for this purpose, told me I’d need to wipe my iPod if I wanted to pair it with my work computer. According to Apple, I didn’t own the music I’d bought through iTunes, not even the music I’d ripped from my own CDs and put on my iPod, as I couldn’t use it as I wished.

That night I downloaded dopisp, closed and uninstalled iTunes, and never looked back. I lived happily ever after.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Apparently the company hasn't learned very much.

Not serious? Are you kidding, they might be told to not get caught engaging in similar practices in the future, and if the judge in the case is really put out, they might even be ordered to pay a fine that amounts to less than 1% of their quarterly profits!

‘Aren’t very serious’ indeed…

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

As ever – define “quality”. Apple are definitely #1 in some criteria, and far from it in others. If they’re not top of the heap for a criteria that’s important to you (e.g. configurability, physical keyboard), but someone else says they’re the best, that doesn’t make the other person wrong. It just means they have different criteria to you.

If your main criteria for your car is horsepower, that doesn’t mean that the guy who bought a small car with a high MPG but low horsepower wrong. It just means he values mileage over power. If you wouldn’t buy that car, don’t.

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