Apple expected to close iTunes in face of Spotify challenge

Apple is expected to announce the end of its flagship music app iTunes today during its worldwide developers conference (WWDC).

The move, reported by Bloomberg, is believed to come as the company moves away from the iPhone as its core product and develops its subscription business.

Three separate apps covering music, podcasts, and television will replace iTunes, including the Apple TV+ app which launched earlier this year.

iTunes was released back in 2001 as a media player, library and online store - but its increasing number of features has left users criticising it for bloat in recent years.

Apple is expected to retire the app in a welcome move for strategists at the company who have been pushing forward a new range of media apps on iPhones and iPads.

The subscription-based Apple Music service - similar to Spotify - offers a very different spending and revenue model for the company compared to the buy-and-download model of iTunes.

A whole host of Hollywood A-listers - including Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston and Steven Spielberg - joined Apple's chief executive Tim Cook to announce a new video streaming service in March.

A credit card called Apple Card was also announced, Apple News + featuring magazines, and a gaming subscription service called Apple Arcade.

CUPERTINO, CA - OCTOBER 27: An Apple employee points to the Touch Bar on a new Apple MacBook Pro laptop during a product launch event on October 27, 2016 in Cupertino, California. Apple Inc. unveiled the latest iterations of its MacBook Pro line of laptops and TV app. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)

The company is moving towards subscription revenues


The move follows Spotify submitting a formal complaint against Apple to the European Commission in March.

Spotify claimed the iPhone maker "deliberately disadvantages" other app developers, and in a blog post its chief executive said Apple has introduced rules which "purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience".

Apple, which has its own rival streaming service, takes a 30% cut of purchases on its app store - including upgrades from Spotify's free to premium service.

The European Commission is reportedly preparing to launch a formal investigation following the complaint.