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Apple's TV streaming and news party may end up with an antitrust hangover

Smart new gadgets are usually the stars of Apple's splashy events. But on Monday the company will focus on subscriptions and services .

A star-studded new television service is expected to oversee Apple's event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. Apple is likely to reveal a news subscription service built into a reimagined Apple News, as well as a bundle to manage them all and tie all services with Apple Music. Plus it is always possible for the show to unpack with "another thing".

In other words, Apple takes a new field of rivals ̵

1; just as two of Apple's existing competitors cry heavily .

For the past two weeks, Spotify and Kaspersky Lab have filed complaints with the regulators claiming that Apple is establishing services that directly compete with its own. The two companies, a streaming music giant and a cybersecurity pillar, made similar claims that Apple is abusing the marketplace's power in the App Store to stifle rival's features, campaigns, or pricing. Apple Apple rejected Spotify's claims and did not comment on Kaspersky & # 39; s. Apple refused to comment on this article.)

These types of disputes over antitrust issues seem unclear and removed, but they can affect the apps and services you use every day. They can trigger changes for how easy you can buy Apple rivals services and how much you pay for them. And with Apple expanding the services companies already offer on their platforms, several of your favorite programs can be sucked in.

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Apple's dominance has not gone unnoticed. Late. Elizabeth Warren, a democratic presidential candidate, has called for the splitting of tech titans, including Google, Facebook and, indeed, Apple.

"What we really face here is an existential crisis of … a new economy," said Rivka Gewirtz Little, an IDC payment strategy analyst. "We live in a market economy where innovation is endless, but we still don't have the answer to the questions of making money on justice."

Another strong regulator has shown that she is also listening to grabs against Apple.

Margrethe Vestager is the EU's competition commissioner. You can know her from the billions of euros in fines the EU has hit on Google. One day after Spotify filed its complaint against Apple for its office, Vestager acknowledged the "strong message" Spotify's manager sent.

Vestager has taken Apple earlier. In 2016, her office urged the iPhone manufacturer to pay nearly $ 15 billion back in Ireland. But prior to Spotify's complaint, Vestager said in November that preliminary investigations from her office found that Apple was not dominant in some areas to justify regulatory action.

Although these complaints are filed in Europe or Russia, action against Apple can affect customers worldwide.

Would Apple "have two different systems in different jurisdictions?" asked Barbara Sicalides, an antitrust lawyer at Pepper Hamilton. "It's just not how the internet economy is being created,"

Team of rivals

Apple and Spotify are the world's two most dominant forces in streaming music. With 96 million paying customers, Spotify is the world's largest. Apple Music, with more than 50 million subscribers, is next.

But Apple's expected services Monday could bring it more direct competition with a bunch of other services you use.

Netflix, Hulu and other subscription video services will be in Apple's competitive crosshairs as it releases its $ 1 billion plus slate of original shows from e.g. J.J. Abrams, Brie Larson, Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon. Offering add-on video subscriptions brings Apple head-to-head with the Amazon Prime Video and its channels model – even encountering traditional partners such as wireless company AT & T, which offers a VRV base of niche branch streaming services.

And Apple's news service, which is expected to offer a subscription that opens access to a number of magazines and newspapers, would mean that Apple devoted its membership dollars to any subscription-based publisher not participating in Apple's bundle.

Don't expect to read the New York Times there, for one: The newspaper's chief executive said he was "leery" of the concept.

One of his doubts that he will not give up part of the Times & # 39; $ 15-month digital subscription – gives birth to one of Spotify's main accusations of how Apple stacks up against competitors: App Store & # 39; s 30 percent fee.

Apple's bite

That's something there are many services that are all about. For any digital good or service sold in an iOS app, Apple takes 30 percent. This means that whenever Spotify subscribes to a new Premium Premium member within its iPhone app, Apple takes $ 3. That fee drops to 15 percent when a subscription lasts longer than one year.

Spotify says that because Apple Music does not face the same tax, Apple has an unreasonable price advantage: Spotify has to choose to charge iPhone customers $ 3 more or live to earn 30 percent less than its biggest competitor for each iOS -member.

Google's Android mobile system also has a strong marketplace, Google Play, and it also charges similar fees. But services can release apps for Android outside of Google's marketplace – known as sideloading – easier than for Apple. Epic Games does it with Fortnite why the insanely popular game is available in the App Store but not Google Play. Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic, has called Apple's charges a "parasitic loss."

Sweeney said in a statement to CNET that Epic "would love to distribute Fortnite directly to customers on iOS, but current Apple terms prevent developers from doing this. Epic advocates a change in Apple policy to allow competition between stores and software sources. "

But Apple's response to Spotify's complaint emphasizes an unpleasant point if you are a fan of these rival services. "Spotify wouldn't be the company they are today without the App Store ecosystem," Apple said. Spotify wants to "avoid contributing to maintaining the ecosystem of the next generation of app entrepreneurs."

Part of it is undeniable: Spotify would not be a giant without the App Store's gateway to 900 million active iPhones. Spotify's use of Apple has been to stop selling subscriptions in the app. But for services still striving for the scope of Spotify, freedom of choice from the App Store may not be an option.

Update Lockdown

The second of Spotify's complaints last week, echoed by Kaspersky's claims Wednesday, can also disrupt Apple's fans soon to competitors. Both say Apple is holding back their app updates as a way to boost their competitor's competitive advantage – using its App Store policies to shrink features or prevent you from knowing about great deals.

Spotify claims that Apple started in 2016 as a way to crack a rival while Apple Music crashed, Apple began rejecting Spotify's app updates. Last year, for example, Apple rejected the app because the word "free" was in Spotify's app screenshots on the App Store, it said.

And according to Kaspersky, after iOS has selected its own parental control bans, Apple banned some form of coding that allows competitors' apps to offer similar features. Kaspersky Safe Kids hosted the App Store without incident for almost three years, said the company until last year's iOS 12 update meant that Apple itself became a rival.

Apple has dismissed Spotify's claims. "The only time we've asked for adjustments is when Spotify has tried to sidestep the same rules that all other apps follow," it said. Apple has not responded to Kaspersky's claim.

"There is a level of closed capability and lockout that Apple has long been working on," Little said . "You can't get other apps on that horrible thing."

It can pose challenges for video and news programs on your iPhone. And maybe others, depending on what Apple has in the store with "another thing".

Originally released March 23 at. 5 PT.
Updated March 24 at. 12:07 PT and 5:00 PT : Adds quotes from Epic CEO and context about Vestager.

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