Apple fires back at
Spotify over music streaming claims
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[July 02, 2016]
By Julia Love and Mia Shanley
SAN FRANCISCO/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Apple
Inc fought back on Friday against Spotify's claims that the U.S. tech
giant had hampered competition in music streaming by rejecting an update
to the Swedish service's iPhone app.
The two companies have gone head to head in the battle for music
streaming customers since Apple Music was launched in more than 100
countries last year.
Apple's entry into the field sparked concerns from music streaming
companies such as Spotify, which have argued that the 30 percent cut
Apple takes of subscriptions in its App Store give its own service
an unfair advantage. Spotify General Counsel Horacio Gutierrez
reiterated those concerns in a letter to Apple first reported on
Thursday as he protested the rejection of the latest version of the
But Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell countered that the company
deserves a cut of transactions in the App Store for its work
operating the marketplace, according to a copy of a letter to
Gutierrez seen by Reuters. Sewell insisted that Apple was treating
Spotify as it would any other app maker, in keeping with antitrust
"We understand that you want special treatment and protections from
competition, but we simply will not do that because we firmly adhere
to the principle of treating all developers fairly and equitably,"
Gutierrez claimed Apple's rejection of Spotify's app raised "serious
concerns" under competition law in the United States and Europe and
the move was causing "grave harm to Spotify and its customers,"
according to technology publication Recode.
A Spotify spokeswoman confirmed the accuracy of the report. A
spokesman for Apple declined to comment.
Launched a decade ago, Spotify is the world's biggest paid music
streaming service with about 30 million paying users in 59 markets
while Apple Music has some 13 million.
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The Apple Inc. logo is shown outside the company's 2016 Worldwide
Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S. June 13,
2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Companies such as Spotify have sought to sidestep Apple's App Store cut by
encouraging consumers to sign up for their services online. Apple forbids
developers from promoting alternative payment methods within their apps.
In late May, Spotify submitted a version of its app that removed the in-app
purchase feature, which triggers Apple's cut, and included an account sign-up
feature that violated Apple's rules, Sewell wrote. Apple rejected the app and
asked Spotify to submit again, but the new version had the same problems, Sewell
Music streaming is a crowded field. Alphabet's Google Music and YouTube also
compete with Spotify and Apple Music to attract users prepared to pay for music,
as does Pandora Media Inc and rapper Jay Z's Tidal.
Amazon.com Inc is also preparing a standalone streaming service, sources have
(reporting by Mia Shanley in Stockholm and Julia Love in San Francisco; Editing
by Alistair Scrutton and Tom Brown)
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