Apple, the world’s most valuable company, is currently under assault by Fortnite developer Epic Games in an incredible legal and cultural fight, but Epic was hardly the first to accuse Apple of abusing monopolistic power.
Today, Spotify — the music service whose complaints helped launch two official EU antitrust investigations into Apple’s App Store and Apple Pay practices — has taken offense at Apple’s announcement of an all-in-one subscription bundle that includes its rival Apple Music.
Here’s Spotify’s statement:
Once again, Apple is using its dominant position and unfair practices to disadvantage competitors and deprive consumers by favoring its own services. We call on competition authorities to act urgently to restrict Apple’s anti-competitive behavior, which if left unchecked, will cause irreparable harm to the developer community and threaten our collective freedoms to listen, learn, create, and connect.
While that certainly reads like boilerplate instead of saying anything meaningfully new, it does seem vaguely plausible that some people might pick up Apple Music instead of Spotify if the overall bundle seems like a good deal, and Apple certainly has the marketing power to push that bundle hard.
That said, Spotify is no stranger to bundles of its own: it’s been bundled with Hulu, with AT&T cellular service, and with some Samsung phones.
Meanwhile, Apple insists that its customers will still be able to “discover and enjoy alternatives”:
Customers can discover and enjoy alternatives to every one of Apple’s services. We’re introducing Apple One because it is a great value for customers and a simple way to access the full range of Apple’s subscription services. We’ll be recommending the Apple One plan that saves you the most money based on the subscriptions you already have. It’s perfect for anyone who loves any of our services and wants to get more for less, and it’s especially great for families. Also select services included in Apple One are available to enjoy on non-Apple devices, and you can cancel anytime.
Last June, Apple announced that Apple Music had topped 60 million subscribers, but had a ways to go to catch up to Spotify’s 100 million. This June, Spotify passed 138 million subscribers.