Apple hits back at 'misleading rhetoric' of Spotify anti-trust complaint

Apple says Spotify wants 'the benefits of a free app without being free'

The Cupertino, California tech giant responded to Spotify's Wednesday assertion that it uses its power over the App Store to unfairly limit rivals to Apple Music, its music streaming service, with a statement of its own on Thursday.

Apple has accused Spotify of "misleading rhetoric" in a response to an antitrust complaint made by the company earlier this week.

In a lengthy post on the company's website, Apple said that Spotify has used the App Store "for years to dramatically grow their business", but now it wants to keep the benefits of that ecosystem "without making any contributions to that marketplace". Apple says that it has cleared almost 200 Spotify app updates which resulted in over 300 million downloads.

Apple's statement begins with, "We share Spotify's love of music and their vision of sharing it with the world", before distancing itself.

In response to the claim that Apple has held back app updates and integration with platforms like Siri and AirPlay 2 as punishment for Spotify attempting to bypass Apple's IAP rules, the company noted that it has delivered "nearly 200 app updates on Spotify's behalf, resulting in over 300 million downloaded copies of the Spotify app". 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's statement concludes: "We're proud of the work we've done to help Spotify build a successful business reaching hundreds of millions of music lovers, and we wish them continued success".

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. 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.

The company expressed surprise about Spotify's Watch app claim, saying "we reviewed and approved it with the same process and speed with which we would any other app". Or Apple is right to charge a certain fee for the uptake of the App Store?

Apple even discloses that the majority of Spotify customers use its ad-supported plan which does not make any contribution to the App Store. "Even now, 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. And we built a secure payment system - no small undertaking - which allows users to have faith in in-app transactions. A similar antitrust case about potential overreach in Apple's walled garden-Apple v. "We think that's wrong".

Apple also slammed Spotify for aiming to "make more money off others' work", including that of "artists, musicians and songwriters". This isn't just wrong, it represents a real, meaningful and damaging step backwards for the music industry, Apple said.

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