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Apple Fires Back at Spotify in Escalating App Store Feud

15 March 2019

That conflict centers around Spotify's longstanding complaint that Apple charges excessive fees, routinely blocks Spotify upgrades and unfairly promotes its own streaming service in its App Store; early Wednesday, Spotify lodged an anti-competition complaint with the European Commission over the matter and CEO Daniel Ek sounded off in a blog post.

Spotify told the EC that Apple's 30% "tax" on Spotify streams represents an "unfair advantage" that hinders competition.

Apple took issue with Ek saying Spotify and others had been locked out of services like Siri, HomePod and Apple Watch.

The iPhone maker said the App Store contributed to Spotify becoming the business it is today, a public company that generates over a billion dollars of revenue per quarter, according to a statement on Friday.

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In response, Apple said it had approved and distributed almost 200 app updates on Spotify's behalf, resulting in over 300 million downloaded copies of the Spotify app. It added that Spotify is "deeply integrated" into Carplay, and that its developers can access the same tools as anyone else.

"We've approved and distributed almost 200 app updates on Spotify's behalf, resulting in over 300 million downloaded copies of the Spotify app", Apple wrote in response. It notes that it doesn't charge apps that make their money exclusively through advertising, and that it doesn't subject apps that sell physical goods like ride-hailing and food delivery to the 70/30 revenue split. Apple described Spotify's claims as "surprising", pointing out that the Swedish company has an Apple Watch app that's ranked as the top app in the wearable App Store's Music section.

Apple adds that it reached out to Spotify multiple times over Siri and AirPlay 2 support and every time they were informed that it was being worked upon.

Spotify declined to comment on Apple's response. When it did eventually give in and accept Apple's in-app purchases rules, Apple Music launched at a lower price that Spotify couldn't meet because of the App Store's revenue split model. Apple also notes that, while Spotify has discussed the 30 percent cut that Apple takes, this drops to 15 percent in the second year for subscriptions. It claimed the tech giant has, over the past few years, "introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience - essentially acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers". As such "only a tiny fraction of their subscriptions fall under Apple's revenue-sharing model". And we built a secure payment system - no small undertaking - which allows users to have faith in in-app transactions.

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"The majority of customers use their free, ad-supported product, which makes no contribution to the App Store", Apple said. Spotify is asking to keep all those benefits while also retaining 100 percent of the revenue. A similar antitrust case about potential overreach in Apple's walled garden-Apple v.

Spotify sued music creators after a decision by the US Copyright Royalty Board required Spotify to increase its royalty payments. "We think that's wrong", Apple claimed.

Apple also slammed Spotify for aiming to "make more money off others' work", including that of "artists, musicians and songwriters".

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Apple Fires Back at Spotify in Escalating App Store Feud