Spotify Accuses Apple of Violating Competition Laws by Rejecting App Update

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When Apple Music debuted last summer, many fans and critics pitted it against the then-dominant music streaming service Spotify in a bit of healthy competition.

Now, letters sent by Spotify’s legal team claim that Apple is no longer competing fairly and is doing harm to it and other streaming services.

Apple has allegedly been under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for violations of anti-trust laws since its streaming service’s debut last year. Most of these claims center around a stipulation that if users purchase a non-Apple Music streaming service subscription through the iOS app, Apple contractually receives 30 percent of the fees because the transaction goes through their billing system. Conversely, if users make the same transactions after downloading the same app on the Google Play Store, the purchase can go through the streaming service’s own billing system.

“I can tell you the number one complaint we get from people is finding out they had to pay more through Apple than they could of through us directly,” Rdio CEO Anthony Bay told The Washington Post last year. “But we just aren’t allowed to tell them. Obviously, Apple doesn’t charge itself 30 percent.”

According to tech website Recode, in a letter sent to Apple’s general counsel Bruce Sewell on Sunday, Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez accused the titan tech company of harmful competition practices, mostly due to Apple rejecting an iOS update for the Spotify app.

Gutierrez reportedly states in the letter that in addition to rejecting the update, Apple also demanded that Spotify used its billing system if it “ wants to use the app to acquire new customers and sell subscriptions.”

“This latest episode raises serious concerns under both U.S. and EU competition law,” reads Gutierrez’s letter. “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.”

“We cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors,” wrote Gutierrez.

Neither Spotify nor Apple have commented on the proceedings so far.