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.

Filed Under: antitrust, competition, doj, free tier, music, music streaming, value
Companies: apple, riaa, spotify, youtube


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 12:45pm

    SOP for Apple

    This is all normal Apple behavior, judging by their behavior over the last 30 years or so. They are a very, very nasty company. The only reason that Apple is traditionally viewed as being better behaved than Microsoft has been that Apple has (until relatively recently) had only a very small slice of the market.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Shmerl, 4 May 2015 @ 1:42pm

      Re: SOP for Apple

      When was Apple viewed as better behaving than Microsoft? Today's Apple is even worse than Microsoft of the '90s.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 1:47pm

      Re: SOP for Apple

      Also hipsters.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ltlw0lf (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 3:12pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 5 May 2015 @ 7:44am

        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...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 5 May 2015 @ 8:10am

          Re: Re: Re: SOP for Apple

          "Feels a little weird to defend Apple..."

          Don't think of it as defending Apple. Think of it as defending the truth. Even bad people (and companies) can have truth on their side occasionally. :)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          ltlw0lf (profile), 5 May 2015 @ 8:50am

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            ltlw0lf (profile), 5 May 2015 @ 8:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: SOP for Apple

            I know of a few people out there that still have iPhone 4s that can't upgrade.

            Ah, I meant iPhone 4. Not iPhone 4s, hard to write the plural of iPhone 4 without using an "s" and confusing it with the 4s.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 5 May 2015 @ 8:59am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              ltlw0lf (profile), 5 May 2015 @ 2:23pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                nasch (profile), 5 May 2015 @ 2:58pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  ltlw0lf (profile), 5 May 2015 @ 4:14pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.)

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    nasch (profile), 5 May 2015 @ 5:38pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

                    That is pretty bad.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 6 May 2015 @ 1:33am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      ltlw0lf (profile), 6 May 2015 @ 4:00pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        PaulT (profile), 6 May 2015 @ 11:43pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          ltlw0lf (profile), 7 May 2015 @ 9:15am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.)

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2015 @ 2:23pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SOP for Apple

                  How long the phone lasts is a separate question from whether new software will run on it.

                  Not if there is a critical security flaw, and no patch is available.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    nasch (profile), 6 May 2015 @ 3:09pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SOP for Apple

                    Not if there is a critical security flaw, and no patch is available.

                    Depends on the definition of "lasts" but yes that is certainly an issue.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 12:50pm

    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      DogBreath, 4 May 2015 @ 1:20pm

      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."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 12:51pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 12:53pm

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

      Masochistic idiots and a flair for simplifying things so even they can understand it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 1:41pm

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

        Masochistic idiots

        You mean iDiots, don't you? (I've always wondered why that term has never caught on...)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 1:00pm

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

      You say crappy hardware, but consistently I've had better longevity and superior performance from what is the otherwise similar hardware owned by those around me (And occasionally by me. That is why I buy Apple computers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 1:04pm

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

        He says because it is crappy. Low qualities and high cost equal low value. Low value = crap.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          James Burkhardt (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 1:28pm

          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?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 1:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Mason Wheeler (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 1:52pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                James Burkhardt (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 2:42pm

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

                So you are against androids and windows phones too right? because I find the iPhone the most reliable to type with.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Mason Wheeler (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 4:31pm

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

                  I'm currently on my 3rd Android phone. All three of them have had real keyboards.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 5 May 2015 @ 1:15am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              James Burkhardt (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 2:35pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                John Fenderson (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 2:44pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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!

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 4:39pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  John Fenderson (profile), 5 May 2015 @ 7:35am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 4:41pm

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

                The walled garden does impact the fitness for use of the hardware when talking about apple.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 3:13pm

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

              I am a PC fan and will probably always be a PC fan but I work with 1000s of both Apple and PCs. I have to say that Apples do last longer and generally need less support than Windows.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2015 @ 1:27am

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

                Apple make PCs though?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2015 @ 7:13am

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

                  They make restricted PCs, you mean. They can last longer because they aren't allowed to be touched except by specials.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 5 May 2015 @ 7:44am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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).

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2015 @ 7:43am

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

                  PC = Personal Computer

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 1:44pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.)

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 1:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 5 May 2015 @ 7:46am

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

          Low qualities and high cost equal low value.

          According to Consumer Reports, Apple computers have the lowest repair rates.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        That One Other Not So Random Guy, 4 May 2015 @ 5:18pm

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

        Yeah sure... I like paying 3 grand for $1000 PC components wrapped up in a pretty silver wrapper with an outdated OS. Who doesn't? /s

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 12:55pm

    Let's all go see how the 'Mac' press is slanting this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 1:52pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 1:00pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    James Burkhardt (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 1:05pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    FM Hilton, 4 May 2015 @ 1:09pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jilocasin (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 1:11pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Kevin (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 1:18pm

    dirt on technology

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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 1:41pm

      Re: dirt on technology

      You're looking for engadget.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      kallethen, 4 May 2015 @ 1:59pm

      Re: dirt on technology

      Well, copyrights, trademarks, and patents are the current dirty side of technology...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 2:26pm

      Re: dirt on technology

      Google is all about making money off copyright infringement, so that's what you're going to get here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      RD, 4 May 2015 @ 5:32pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 1:33pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 1:37pm

      Re:

      Platforms can't violate copyright laws, People do.

      Also, you're off topic.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 1:48pm

        Re: Re:

        Kneejerk.

        No one claimed platforms violate copyright laws, and the comment was on topic.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 1:54pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          We can see right through your double reverse logic and passive-aggressive fanboisms.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 2:37pm

            Re: Re: Re: 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.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 1:42pm

      Re:

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

      Yes, like public libraries.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 2:28pm

      Re:

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

      Any platform that attempts to enforce copyright law through technological means is a broken platform (even if you never use it to violate copyright law).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Manabi (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 2:04pm

    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!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 2:09pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Eponymous Coward (profile), 5 May 2015 @ 9:53am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 2:45pm

    This kind of behavior is a sure sign that a company has "jumped the shark".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2015 @ 5:31pm

    Apparently the company hasn't learned very much.

    To the contrary, they've learned that the consequences aren't very serious.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 4 May 2015 @ 8:10pm

      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...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    nasch (profile), 5 May 2015 @ 7:55am

    Competition

    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.

    Well when you have Apple's clout, that is the easier way to do it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    saputra, 5 May 2015 @ 8:42am

    apple product quality is number one

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 5 May 2015 @ 9:18am

      Re:

      Marked as Funny because... that *is* a joke, right?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 5 May 2015 @ 9:35am

        Re: Re:

        Marked as Funny because... that *is* a joke, right?

        Consumer Reports agrees*, and they're not known as a humor publication.

        * at least as far as computers go - not sure about mobile devices

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 6 May 2015 @ 1:59am

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.