‘Free isn’t enough’: Apple calls out Spotify for ‘paying nothing’


EU regulators have just hit Apple with a whopping $2 billion fine over its App Store policies. 

And Apple is calling out the company that filed the complaint in the first place: Spotify.

On Monday, Apple released a fairly long statement acknowledging a $2 billion fine levied against the iPhone-maker by the European Commission. The massive fine is the result of an investigation by the EU into a complaint filed against Apple’s App Store.

The complaint, filed by music streaming service Spotify, focused on Apple’s App Store policies that prohibit app developers from pointing users toward subscription options outside of the app in order to avoid Apple’s in-app purchase fees. An EU investigation concluded that Apple was engaging in anti-competitive practices and running afoul of antitrust laws.

Spotify celebrated the EU’s decision, which Apple said in its statement that it will appeal.

However, Apple took things even further. In fact, the majority of the statement is spent calling out Spotify.

Here’s what Apple said about Spotify.

Apple pulls no punches in its statement on Spotify.

Titled “The App Store, Spotify, and Europe’s thriving digital music market,” Apple spends the bulk of its statement addressing Spotify instead of the EU decision itself.

Apple highlights in its statement that Spotify pays absolutely nothing to the iPhone-maker for the Spotify app, which Apple says has been “downloaded, redownloaded, or updated more than 119 billion times on Apple devices.”

Taking things even further, Apple points out that even though Spotify doesn’t pay the company, Apple has worked with Spotify to make sure their app works with “Siri, CarPlay, Apple Watch, AirPlay, Widgets, and more.” Apple mentions that Spotify utilizes its tools like TestFlight and Apple’s APIs and that its review team “frequently expedites reviews” of Spotify app updates in the Apple Store “at Spotify’s request.”

Apple also seems to not-so-subtly point out that Spotify has some monopolization-related problems of its own, saying that the music streaming service “has a 56 percent share of Europe’s music streaming market — more than double their closest competitors.”

“Despite that success, and the App Store’s role in making it possible, Spotify pays Apple nothing,” Apple says.

“But free isn’t enough for Spotify,” Apple continues. “They also want to rewrite the rules of the App Store — in a way that advantages them even more.”

Apple goes on to accuse Spotify of wanting to accept payments directly within the iOS app, using all of Apple’s tools without taking part in the revenue share program that every other developer takes part in. Apple mentions how the company offers a “reader rule” policy which allows developers to provide a web page link in the app that directs users to account services, which could include billing management and sign-ups. However, Apple says that Spotify has not taken advantage of this option.

“Instead, Spotify wants to bend the rules in their favor by embedding subscription prices in their app without using the App Store’s In-App Purchase system,” Apple says. “They want to use Apple’s tools and technologies, distribute on the App Store, and benefit from the trust we’ve built with users — and to pay Apple nothing for it.”

“In short, Spotify wants more.”

Apple ends the statement saying it will appeal the EU decision. It’ll be interesting to see how the appeal goes, but even more compelling is what the future for Apple and Spotify’s relationship looks like.





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