Apple: Playing the Competitor and the Referee

Spotify recently released a video calling out Apple for their extra tax on Spotify subscriptions. This further creates the debate on: are Apple products really worth what they make themselves up to be?

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It might not be super obvious, but since the passing of Steve Jobs, the marketing around Apple products has dimmed severely. While Apple advertises amazing, user-friendly products, the biggest achievement in innovation on their part is not on the product side – but on the marketing side. Apple appeals to those who value aesthetic. Historically, the public will flock to the more visually appealing option without going into the specifics. The specifics are there for the techies and for those who are looking for a particular function, not just what the device looks like.

As an avid user of things not Apple, I’ve used Android and PC products for most of my life, and my experience using an iPhone or any other Apple product actually wasn’t super pleasant. Before becoming accustomed to Adobe Premier, I thought iMovie to be superior simply because it looked easier. The program was fairly easy to use, little to no hassle, and I got used to it really easily.

However.

The rest of the OS was a complete mystery. I couldn’t find the simplest things, and whoever owned the Apple device was able to find these functions within two seconds. These features came off as odd, and I started to think that, while these products are designed to be very user-friendly, for the average computer fanatic, iOS is anything but. Android versus iPhone is today’s updated version of the classic PC versus Mac debate. What I’ve come to realize is that while a PC/Android user can recognize a Mac/iPhone’s capabilities, the same can not be said vice versa.

But just because I’ve recognized Apple as a good product does not mean I’ve recognized it as the better product.

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The debate will never stop as long as both products exist, and these opposing sides will have their staple reasons as to why they continue to use whichever product they’re comfortable using. I, as an Android user, am not comfortable using an iPhone because I find it too limiting, and once I saw the endless capabilities of an Android, I decided that I had no reason to change my mind or consider changing my device.

By today’s standards, people will plunge into the possibility of changing devices due to the availability of certain apps. When Instagram first appeared, it was only available for iOS, and even now, updates come quicker to iOS than they do Android.

So where does this leave Spotify – one of the most popular music streaming services to ever be used? Especially considering that huge companies like Starbucks are giving their employees free Premium Spotify accounts just for being hired, what is going to happen if Spotify decides to become unavailable on the Apple market? Some users have already posed the threat to switch devices completely if Spotify becomes unavailable to them.

(As an insider, iPads and iPhones are also used in Starbucks locations in order to control the store’s music and conduct training sessions.)

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On another interesting point, this poses an important fact about Apple as a business. As stated in Spotify’s video, Apple not only takes a good chunk of Spotify’s fees for Premium accounts which are unaffordable, Apple is also censoring Spotify ads for deals on Premium accounts. Basically, Apple is keeping you from saving money on a service you most likely use.

With censorship and the freedom of speech being a huge topic on the Internet and in general, one has to wonder why Apple feels the need to hide these ads or even take profits from their highest selling products. Apple users are not small in number, but neither are Android users who are on the higher ground when it comes to this Spotify issue.

This isn’t the first time Apple has taken down a product because of a fear. Back in 2010, Apple removed a child-friendly programming app called “Scratch.”

Why?

Because in the iPhone developer agreement, iPhone apps cannot contain any form of coding interpreters. Imagine downloading a program that allows you to download anything that isn’t available in the Apple store. Well, Apple erased that thought for you. Any form of downloading software that can be an alternative to the Apple store is not allowed, and by extension this pulled any programming-capable apps from the platform to prevent any backdoor downloading that iPhone users might attempt.

Let’s think about this for a second: Apple removed an app designed for children so they can learn how to program.

Where is this threat exactly?

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This is obviously old news, but this goes to show how Apple has a history of clearing their platform of apps that pose a threat to their devices’ superiority on the market. The average user might not even notice the disappearance of a small programming app, but the average user needs to remember that if this app could easily disappear, what else can Apple take away?

Many users debate the benefits and differences between Apple Music and Spotify. You can do the research on your own, but Spotify has claimed the #1 spot in many of the areas that used to be predominantly Apple Music.

Now, to be clear, Spotify has not announced that it will be separating itself from the Apple market, but it is clearly stating that if these changes cannot be made, they might not have a choice. Why stay in a market that takes more than you earn? And why allow yourself to be hidden because you’re trying to give people a better deal?

Spotify is finally opening the debate on a different end – threatening not just to leave but to take Apple users with it. What’s going to happen if someone budges?

Route one: Apple concedes to Spotify. What’s the worst that can happen? Well, up until now, most of us hadn’t heard of the 30% Apple tax, so it’s likely that a lot of other apps that require a form of payment are also subject to this tax. If Spotify is able to shake Apple into dropping the tax for their service, what’s stopping other companies from demanding the same kind of fair treatment?

Or route two: Apple does not budge, and Spotify leaves the Apple store and is therefore unavailable to Apple devices and the like.

We’ll leave the outcome of that second option to your imagination.

You can view Spotify’s message to Apple at Time to Play Fair!

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