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Why Spotify is picking a fight with Apple over Apple One

September 19, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Apple's new subscription bundle, Apple One, will give consumers a chance to try out multiple new Apple services and potentially save a few bucks.

Regarding the new Apple One bundle, Spotify said: "Once again, Apple is using its dominant position and unfair practices to disadvantage competitors and deprive consumers by favoring its own services," according to a Tuesday statement from a spokesperson.

If left unchecked, Spotify says Apple's bundling of services will harm competitors, and could limit choices for consumers.

Legal experts say Spotify's argument would likely work something like this: By bundling Apple Music with other Apple services — including various combinations of iCloud, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple Fitness+ and Apple News+ — Apple could make it cheaper and easier for customers to choose Apple Music over other music subscription services like Spotify.

Because Apple's services are still available individually outside of the bundle, Stucke said regulators would then likely have to demonstrate that Apple had made the bundle pricing so compelling that consumers would almost certainly want to buy the bundle, even if they didn't necessarily care for all the services in it.

As for the second piece, consumers can still buy Apple services individually, and a few dollars' worth of savings is probably not enough to get them to buy the bundle if they don't actually want all the subscriptions, Sagers said.

Since Apple isn't requiring consumers to buy services in the bundle, Sagers said courts are more likely to look at Apple One as an example of price competition — which isn't illegal.

By also offering a bundle that could save consumers money on those pre-installed services, legal experts say Apple could make choosing its services both easier and more compelling than installing a rival app.

"In the Spotify context, since Apple controls iOS, by offering a bundle of these services, it's going to make it too easy to take Apple Music, and suddenly the market for these streaming services will be distorted," Ketan Jhaveri, co-founder and president of Bodhala and former Justice Department antitrust attorney, said.

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