Apple is looking to minimize competition ahead of the launch of its own audio systems, further adding fuel to the allegations of ‘monopolistic practices’ levied against the company. According to a report by Bloomberg, the Cupertino-based tech giant has pulled out all third-party audio devices from its online store, and has also instructed its physical stores to stop selling these products.
These third-party audio companies include Bose, Sonos and Logitech’s Ultimate Ears, which have sold products like headphones, speakers and smart-speakers on Apple’s stores for very long now. All audio devices from these companies that were sold on the Apple online store were no longer appearing for purchase, according to Bloomberg.
As of now the only audio products that are available on the Apple online store are Apple’s own Airpods and AirPods Pro, products from its subsidiary audio company Beats, HomePods, Beats Pill+ speaker and only one third party product, i.e. a Pioneer conference room speaker that can be plugged into an iPhone.
Bose and Logitech’s Ultimate Ears confirmed the news story saying that Apple no longer sells their products starting from September. This is not the first time Apple has pulled off a move like this before the launch of its own products.
Back in 2014, it had cleared all Fitbits off its shelves to make way for its new Apple Watch. In the same year, it had blocked Bose products in its stores after a patent war between Bose and Apple subsidiary Beats. It had also removed Bowers & Wilkins products last year and Bang & Olufsen devices earlier this year from its stores.
Now, Apple is expected to launch its new over-ear headphones and a smaller version of its HomePod smart speaker, devices that will compete with products from Bose, Sonos and Ultimate Ears. Thus, it’s not surprising that Apple has tried to eliminate competition ahead of a major launch.