Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) has some concerns about Apple’s entry into the music streaming market. On Wednesday, Franken wrote to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Justice Department, requesting that they look into whether Apple inflates prices and undercuts the competition.
Franken’s complaints are twofold: Apple forces competing app developers who use its platform–say, Spotify or Pandora–to pay a 30% fee for every in-app purchase, which they cannot disclose to customers. (As per Apple’s licensing deals, those companies are not allowed to use their iOS apps to direct users to their own websites, where customers could skirt those fees.) And now, Apple has launched its own streaming platform that puts its interests in line with those practices.
“Increased competition in the music streaming market should mean that consumers will ultimately benefit through more choices of better products and at lower prices,” Franken wrote in the letter. “I am concerned, however, that Apple’s position as a dominant platform operator may actually undermine many of the potential consumer benefits of its entry into the market. To protect consumer choice and promote greater transparency of pricing, I ask that you review Apple’s business practices with respect to its competitors in the music streaming market.”
According to The Guardian, both the Justice Department and the FTC have not yet responded to Franken’s letter.
The FTC has previously received similar grievances: In fact, earlier this week, The Verge reported that the commission was examining Apple’s relationship with competing streaming platforms, with a specific focus on the 30% fee cited by Franken.
[via The Guardian]