Music site Simfy lodges competition complaint against Apple over iCloud

As Apple prepared to launch on Monday an eagerly awaited service that lets consumers stream music they bought to any Apple device, a German music-streaming site has lodged an anti-trust claim against the technology giant.

Music site Simfy lodges competition complaint against Apple over iCloud
Photo: DPA

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.”

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

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Woman on trial over killing spree at Potsdam care home

The trial began on Tuesday of a woman accused of stabbing four residents to death and severely injuring another at a German care home for disabled people where she worked outside Berlin.

Tributes laid where four people were killed at a care home in Potsdam.
Tributes laid where four people were killed at a care home in Potsdam. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Soeren Stache

Named as Ines Andrea R., the 52-year-old suspect is charged with four counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder following the bloodbath at the Thusnelda-von-Saldern-Haus facility in Potsdam, Brandenburg, in April.

The victims, two women and two men aged between 31 and 56, were found dead in their rooms after being stabbed with a knife, with police saying they had been subjected to “intense, extreme violence”.

Ines Andrea R. is also accused of trying to kill two further residents and of seriously injuring another, a woman aged 43.

She was detained immediately after the incident and placed in urgent psychiatric care due to what prosecutors described as “pertinent evidence” of severe mental illness.

Around 100 police officers were involved in recovering evidence at the scene.

READ ALSO: Women in custody over killings at Potsdam disabled home

The Thusnelda-von-Saldern-Haus, run by the Lutheran Church’s social welfare service, specialises in helping those with physical and mental disabilities, including blind, deaf and severely autistic patients.

It offers live-in care as well as schools and workshops.

Around 65 people live at the residence, which employs more than 80 people.

Germany has seen a number of high-profile murder cases from care facilities.

In the most prominent trial, nurse Niels Högel was sentenced in 2019 to life in prison for murdering 85 patients in his care.

READ ALSO: Missed chances: How Germany’s killer nurse got away with 85 murders

Högel, believed to be Germany’s most prolific serial killer, murdered patients with lethal injections between 2000 and 2005, before he was eventually caught in the act.

Last year, a Polish healthcare worker was sentenced to life in prison in Munich for killing at least three people with insulin.