Spotify Says Apple Won’t Approve a New Version of Its App to Avoid Competition for Apple Music
This week, Apple and Spotify are going head to head over music streaming and profits after Spotify’s general counsel, Horacio Gutierrez, sent Apple a letter on June 26 saying “causing grave harm to Spotify and its customers,” claming Apple blocked the music-streaming company’s recent attempts to update its iOS app.
The letter also says Apple turned down a new version of the app while citing “business model rules” and demanded that Spotify use Apple’s billing system if “Spotify wants to use the app to acquire new customers and sell subscriptions.” The letter suggests that Spotify intends to use the standoff as ammunition in its fight over Apple’s rules governing subscription services that use its App store.
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 Spotfify … we cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors.
Spotify has distributed copies of the letter to some Congressional staff in Washing ton, D.C. Yesterday, Senator Elizabeth Warren criticized Apple, Amazon and Google for waht she called anticompetitive practices. Warren said that “Apple has long used its control of iOS to squash competition in music.”
In its broadest terms, this is a familiar fight, and one that will only get more familiar. As tech platforms at various levels – from hardware, to operating system, to social media, to retial – increasingly dominate the tech economy, smaller businesses that want to operate on those playforms while also competing with certain features will always be held hostage by the terms of the giants. The terror and contempt with which digital publishers regard Facebook is different from Spotify’s anger with Apple only in degree, not in kind.
At present Spotify declined to comment, and Apple hasn’t responded to request for comment.