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

Apple hits back at Spotify in anti-competition row

Spotify filed on Wednesday a formal complaint with the EU Commission that took issue with restrictions that Apple places on apps that don't use the payment system on its App Store, from which Apple takes a 30 percent cut.

With regard to the 30 percent charge on in-app digital content in the App Store, Apple notes that 84 percent of apps pay nothing, including Spotify's own ad-supported app.

"After using the App Store for years to dramatically grow their business, Spotify seeks to keep all the benefits of the App Store ecosystem - including the substantial revenue that they draw from the App Store's customers - without making any contributions to that marketplace", it wrote.

Apple also went one step further, attacking how Spotify treats the musicians on its platform, claiming the company makes "ever-smaller" contributions to artists.

Spotify did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

Apple shot back at Spotify on Friday, just days after the music streaming service filed a complaint with the European Union (EU) regulators over anticompetitive practices, accusing the company of wanting "all the benefits of a free app without being free".

Apple said its revenue share is in exchange for connecting a third-party's services to its users, using the App Store billing system, and its developer tools that allow Spotify to build its iPhone and iPad applications. The real question might be whether Apple has to change its whole business model in order to even operate those platforms. "Spotify is asking for that number to be zero". When it came to specifics, Apple straight up denied a few of Spotify's claims.

Writing on the Verge news site, Sam Byford said Apple had only addressed some of Spotify's criticisms. Apple says it reached out to Spotify about Siri and AirPlay 2 support "on several occasions", to which Spotify replied it's "working on it". Indeed, it's the most popular app in the Watch's (probably not very competitive) music category.

It added that it had made almost 200 app updates on Spotify's behalf, resulting in more than 300 million downloads of Spotify's app.

"We want more app businesses to thrive - including the ones that compete with some aspect of our business, because they drive us to be better", Apple said in its statement.

If a company is big enough to take the risk, however, it's possible to get users to enter their payments through a web browser and then link their accounts to the app without handing over fees to Apple.

In response, Apple said it had approved and distributed almost 200 app updates on Spotify's behalf, resulting in over 300 million downloaded copies of the Spotify app.

Spotify wouldn't be the business they are today without the App Store ecosystem, but now they're leveraging their scale to avoid contributing to maintaining that ecosystem for the next generation of app entrepreneurs. '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".

In the past, I've argued that the benefits of Apple's approach to the App Store outweigh the downsides.

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