Owning the App Store means that Apple has the power to control the success of apps released on iOS, and owning Apple Music means the company has a good reason to do just that. Doing so would be illegal, of course, but there are a number of ways to be anti-competitive without people catching on. While there’s no evidence that Apple does this, Spotify claims that the company is preventing Spotify from updating its iOS app in an effort to stifle it. Naturally, Apple has denied these accusations, and claims that Spotify is simply being subjected to the same rules and regulations that all other apps on the App Store are.
After news broke yesterday of Spotify accusing Apple of attempting to “exclude and diminish” its competition through rather shady business practices, it took Apple less than 24 hours to fire back. “We find it troubling that you are asking for exemptions to the rules we apply to all developers and are publicly resorting to rumors and half-truths about our service.” Spotify had alleged Apple was flexing its muscle in an attempt to drive competitors out of the market to clear space for Apple Music. To do this, Apple required applications (like Spotify) to use its own in-app billing system to sell subscriptions — a move Spotify once circumvented by sending users to its website to subscribe, or adding an additional three dollars to the price (monthly) to cover Apple’s 30 percent cut. Apple has since brought the hammer down on this practice, leading Spotify to claim the company is acting anticompetitively. Spotify general counsel, Horacio Gutierrez wrote: “It 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.” It should come as no surprise that Apple disagrees.