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Rhapsody blasts Apple's 30% cut from in-app subs

Gregg Keizer | Feb. 16, 2011
But music service's chief says he could live with Google's 10% cut on Android apps

Irwin wouldn't comment on whether Rhapsody is thinking about pulling its iPhone and iPad apps from the App Store, and declined to comment on whether he thought Apple was changing the rules in the middle of the game.

Rhapsody launched its iPhone app in September 2009, and updated it in April 2010 to let subscribers listen to their playlists when the smartphone isn't connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network. Although the app isn't designed for the iPad's larger screen, it also runs on Apple's tablet as well as on the iPod Touch.

In his statement yesterday, Irwin also said, "We will be collaborating with our market peers in determining an appropriate legal and business response to this latest development," a comment that some interpreted as threatening to sue Apple.

Today Irwin refused to comment further on possible legal action. "But I'm responsible for delivering value to shareholders, so I need to look at all options," he said.

An antitrust attorney today said that a move to the courts would likely fail.

He has been in contact with other subscription music services, including U.K.-based Spotify, to discuss a response to Apple's new rules, Irwin confirmed. "Every one of us is in the same boat," he said.

Irwin also said that he hopes to have more discussions with Apple or even the music labels, about their fees. "We want our customers to access their music wherever they want, whenever they want," Irwin said. "But Apple's new rules make it very difficult, no, unmanageable to do business."


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