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Music site Simfy lodges competition complaint against Apple over iCloud

The Local · 6 Jun 2011, 16:21

Published: 06 Jun 2011 16:21 GMT+02:00

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The Cologne-based company Simfy – a site similar to the well-known Spotify – lodged a complaint with Germany’s competition watchdog, the Bundeskartellamt, on Monday. Simfy claims Apple is holding back Simfy’s iPad application to protect its own web-based iCloud service, which is expected to perform a similar function.

"We have always considered Apple an important partner, but it is unacceptable for Apple to be able to control the market in this way,” Gerrit Schumann, CEO of Simfy, said in a statement. “The App Store is a key marketplace we use to reach our customers. In the meanwhile, Simfy users are rightfully complaining about the lack of this app for the iPad.

“Of course, we ourselves are true fans of Apple and its products. That is why it was so disappointing and incomprehensible to us that we have apparently been blocked intentionally for months now."

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is set on Monday night German time to take the stage in San Francisco's Moscone Center to launch what the company hopes will be its next great source of revenue, the cloud computing service iCloud.

The web-based service will let consumers stream music they bought to any Apple device, pitting it against rivals Google and Amazon, who have recently launched similar services.

The expansion into cloud computing is seen as crucial if the company is to stay competitive by making its iTunes even more powerful and even tougher for rivals to keep up.

Apple’s advantage is that it has cut deals with three of the four top record companies – EMI Music, Warner Music and Sony Music – to let consumers to stream music from the cloud to multiple devices without first uploading their music libraries.

Business wire service Bloomberg reported that the service will scan digital music collections and automatically mirror them in iCloud which stores the data on the web and therefore does not use up space on the user's own computer or web-device.

Simfy spokesman Marcus von Husen told The Local that the firm had been waiting 15 weeks since it lodged its iPad app for Apple’s approval. The process shouldn’t take more than two or three weeks, he said. Simfy previously had an iPhone app approved and this took just seven or eight days, he said.

“We don’t know what has happened,” von Husen said. “All we can do is speculate that it has something to do with their own projects. Spotify had similar problems with the approval process for its iPhone application.”

Story continues below…

Ciaran O’Leary, from the venture capital firm Earlybird, which is one of Simfy’s investors, told the technology news website The Next Web: “We know (from an Apple App Store manager) that the app approval has escalated to the highest level within Apple several weeks ago – still no response, not answering to letters from lawyers, etc – so it’s blatantly obvious they are misusing their power.”

An Apple spokesman in Germany could not be reached for comment.

The Local/djw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:49 June 7, 2011 by nycinhamburg
boo hoo! I wish these companies would stop their complaining. Apple is no different then Microsoft or Google in respects to who they allow in their system. This is their right. If you don't like it then move on! Apple is not going to approve an app unless it meets their terms and if this app is like their new iCloud service which mirrors the users iTunes music, I can assure you they are not holding it back because they see it as a competitor but because they need to make sure the music labels are aware of this app. They are not going to approve an app that will basically pirate music. If this company is so pissed about the way Apple's approval process is then they should take their money and resources into developing their service to work over the web like many others do. Move on already!
10:57 June 7, 2011 by authun
Much easier to innovate in Europe by suing
01:49 June 8, 2011 by chicagolive
Suing is what Apple does for the people who don't drink the Apple juice I at first thought I was watching a old Zune Advert or Android conference because they are basically adding functions(while saying they invented it like Jobs always does)that have been around for awhile while tightening the nose around iOS users necks.
01:58 June 8, 2011 by tj33
Actually, Apple is quite different from Google and Microsoft: neither Google nor Microsoft have stopped competitors from offering software on their platform.

And Apple does not "need to make sure" anything; if Simfy violates copyright or licensing terms, it will get sued by the labels. Apple doesn't need to insert itself into the process.
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