After Spotify filed a complaint against Apple earlier this week, Apple has today released a statement trying to address Spotify’s claims.

According to the statement:

What Spotify is demanding is something very different. After using the App Store for years to dramatically grow their business, Spotify seeks to keep all the benefits of the App Store ecosystem — including the substantial revenue that they draw from the App Store’s customers — without making any contributions to that marketplace. At the same time, they distribute the music you love while making ever-smaller contributions to the artists, musicians and songwriters who create it — even going so far as to take these creators to court.

and

Spotify wouldn’t be the business they are today without the App Store ecosystem, but now they’re leveraging their scale to avoid contributing to maintaining that ecosystem for the next generation of app entrepreneurs. We think that’s wrong.

Great points, but the statement complete sidesteps why the company disallows apps to mention other available payment models. I think Apple is fair in asking for a 30% cut for payments made through the App Store, but Spotify (and other apps) should also be allowed to tell their users that they can purchase the same subscriptions, using other payment methods, sometimes cheaper, from the service’s own website. Apple itself says that many Spotify users are free users and Apple is fine not getting any revenue from them. For any revenue Spotify receives outside of the App Store payment system, Apple shouldn’t need to ask for a cut.

Moreover, Spotify wouldn’t be in this tough position if Apple didn’t have its music streaming service, with substantial unfair advantages over Apple, offered at the same price as Spotify. Right now, Apple offers a competitor service on the same platform as Spotify, at the same price as Spotify, and has substantial advantages that users like.

Spotify has announced that it has filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission (EC), the regulatory body responsible for keeping competition fair and nondiscriminatory.

Daniel Ek, founder and CEO of Spotify, writes:

In recent years, Apple has introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience—essentially acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers. After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, we’re now requesting that the EC take action to ensure fair competition.

and

We aren’t seeking special treatment. We simply want the same treatment as numerous other apps on the App Store, like Uber or Deliveroo, who aren’t subject to the Apple tax and therefore don’t have the same restrictions.

More power to Spotify!

The company has created a lovely website called Time to Play Fair that shows a timeline of all the ridiculous App Store policies that Apple has in place as well as the rejections that Spotify has faced over the years.

Apple AirPods Review — Intelligent Wireless Earbuds

Apple AirPods Review in India

AirPods were introduced by Apple on September 7th, 2016 at an event that also gave us the iPhone 7 and the Apple Watch Series 2. Unlike these devices though, the AirPods didn’t actually go on sale immediately and instead, Apple did not start accepting orders until December that year. It has been quite difficult to get your hands on the AirPods, and the product is still seeing long shipping estimates, as late as six weeks at times.

I had made up my mind not to buy the AirPods. There was no way I could manage to somehow get my hands on one, and I had already spent ₹25,000 on the incredible Bose QC20i noise-cancelling earphones [Buy Now on Amazon or Flipkart]. There was no way I could afford them. But more importantly, I just didn’t feel the need to spend ₹15,400 on another pair of earphones, just to get rid of the wires.

Then, over the last six months of 2017, I witnessed several people that I follow on Twitter slowly end up buying AirPods for themselves and tweeting about their experiences using them. Every single person who bought these AirPods had high praises to sing for them. It was great to hear about the experience of owning the AirPods from people I know and look up to. Six months ago, I had made up my mind to not buy them, and by the start of June 2017, I was torn. I wasn’t immediately looking to buy them since they weren’t officially available in India anyway, but a big part of me really wanted them. Badly.

Apple wasn’t sending me a review unit, so in the end, I decided to dive in on my own and by June 13th, I was holding a pair of AirPods in my hand.

(more…)

Rdio buys Dhingana to Enter India

NT Balanarayan, Vikas SN & Nikhil Pahwa reporting exclusively for MediaNama:

US-based music streaming website Rdio has acquired Indian music streaming website Dhingana, Dhingana has confirmed to MediaNama. MediaNama had heard about the development from multiple industry sources.

Sources also told MediaNama that the amount being offered to Dhingana is lower than the amount of funding they had raised.

This is great news. I’ve been waiting for either Spotify or Rdio to enter this market for a long time now, so this was welcome news to wake up to. I do hope Rdio launches with their complete (English) catalogue and not just a country-specific (Hindi) one.