Spotify says Apple is exhibiting extreme anti-competitive behavior by using its App Store approval process “as a weapon.” The streaming service’s general counsel, Horacio Gutierrez, sent a letter to Apple earlier this week accusing the company of causing harm to Spotify and its customers.
According to the letter, Apple recently rejected Spotify’s latest update demanding the service use Apple’s billing system.
“This latest episode raises serious concerns under both U.S. and EU competition law,” Gutierrez said. “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.”
Last year, Spotify ran a promotion offering new subscribers three months of service for just $0.99—but only if they signed up through Spotify’s site, not via an in-app purchase, which would give Apple a cut. Apple didn’t take too kindly to Spotify’s shenanigans, and when the streaming service brought the same campaign back this month, Apple threatened to remove the app from the App Store.
Because Apple takes a cut, Spotify is being forced to charge $13/month for subscriptions for purchases made through the App Store; through Spotify’s website subscriptions are only $9.99. Meanwhile, Spotify is unable to use a different billing system because that’s against App Store policy. This gives Apple an advantage because the company is able to charge only $9.99 for purchases made through the App Store.
Spotify isn’t the only one to take issue with Apple’s controversial business practices. As Recode notes, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently suggested the online giant stopped selling the Apple TV because of Apple’s unfair subscription rules. In addition to sending a letter to Apple, Spotify also shared a copy with Congressional staff in Washington, D.C., in the hopes of bringing attentions to the issue.