Spotify frames Apple as anti-competitive in app update fracas
Is Apple being a competitive spoilsport to protect its own interests? Does it have a right to do so? Spotify is challenging Infinite Loop on at least the music streaming front by claiming that the company won’t approve an update to its app unless it uses the iTunes billing system.
Prior to the launch of the pay-to-play Apple Music, Spotify took in monthly subscription fees from iOS users through the app and through that iTunes system. Apple charges vendors a 30 percent fee per subscription for music services and Spotify passed the fee onto customers by charging $13 a month instead of $10.
When Apple Music launched, the company encouraged customers to sign up to its own service through the Spotify website to avoid the surcharge — music services cannot use other billing services in its iOS app.
This month, the Sweden-based company stopped using the iTunes system after Apple told it to stop promoting a website-only promotional offer to iPhone users.
Apple’s letter to Spotify in regards to refusing the app update stated that Spotify should use iTunes billing if it “wants to use the app to acquire new customers and sell subscriptions”.
General counsel for Spotify stated in a letter to Apple’s lawyers that the dispute “continues a troubling pattern of behavior by Apple to exclude and diminish the competitiveness of Spotify on iOS and as a rival to Apple Music, particularly when seen against the backdrop of Apple’s previous anticompetitive conduct aimed at Spotify.”
Letters have been dispersed to Congressional staff as well. Spotify isn’t saying anything to press and Apple has yet to respond to requests for comment.