Apple Responds to Spotify's EU Antitrust Lawsuit for Unfair Practices

Angelo Anderson
March 15, 2019

Apple says that it has cleared almost 200 Spotify app updates which resulted in over 300 million downloads.

Spotify filed a complaint with the European Commission over Apple's stewardship of its App Store earlier this week, but now Apple has hit back with a statement criticising Spotify's "misleading rhetoric" - including jabs at the streaming service's recent appeal against new songwriter-royalty rates in the US. First, the 30% revenue share that Apple gets is for the first year of annual subscription, after which it drops to 15%.

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

Apple's statement begins with, "We share Spotify's love of music and their vision of sharing it with the world", before distancing itself. As such "only a tiny fraction of their subscriptions fall under Apple's revenue-sharing model". The company also points out that Spotify's Watch app is now the number one app in the Watch Music category.

Ek also asserted that Apple blocked its "experience-enhancing upgrades", partially in reference to a 2016 incident.

"Spotify is free to build apps for - and compete on - our products and platforms, and we hope they do", it added.

Spotify did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

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

Apple says Spotify wants 'the benefits of a free app without being free'
Apple comes out swinging against Spotify complaint

Apple's statement mostly glosses over this point and instead criticises the streaming service for attempting to appeal a pay rise for songwriters.

Apple didn't address Spotify's primary argument that its own streaming app, Apple Music, isn't subject to the same restrictions it imposes on Spotify which is really the whole point of the complaint. In fact, the Spotify Watch app is now the No. 1 app in the Watch Music category.

In the post, Apple also pointed out that Spotify is stingy when it comes to paying artists, even taking them to court over royalties.

First published at 3:11 a.m. PT. Updated at 4:43 a.m. PT: Adds more details. Similarly, most Spotify customers join the platform via partnerships with mobile carriers which again does not help the App Store in any way. And we built a secure payment system - no small undertaking - which allows users to have faith in in-app transactions. "Spotify wouldn't be the business they are today without the App Store ecosystem, but now they're leveraging their scale to avoid contributing to maintaining that ecosystem for the next generation of app entrepreneurs", Apple said.

"We think that's wrong", it said.

What does that have to do with music? "Underneath the rhetoric, Spotify's aim is to make more money off others' work". A similar antitrust case about potential overreach in Apple's walled garden-Apple v. That's in our DNA, it's the right model to grow the next big app ideas and, ultimately, it's better for customers.

Spotify also claims that Apple's would not let iPhone users play music from Spotify using Siri and that Apple had declined to let Spotify launch an app on the Apple Watch.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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