Apple Accuses Spotify of 'Resorting to Rumors and Half-Truths', Sets Record Straight on App Rejection

Yesterday, Spotify accused Apple of using its App Store approval process as a "weapon to harm competitors" after Apple rejected a Spotify app update, and now Apple has responded to Spotify's accusations to "set the record straight."

In a letter to Spotify lawyer Horacio Gutierrez that was shared by BuzzFeed, Apple's legal head Bruce Sewell says Apple is disappointed with the public attacks and concerned that Spotify is asking for exemptions to rules that apply to all app developers.

spotify app

There can be no doubt that Spotify has benefited enormously from its association with Apple's App Store. Since joining the App Store in 2009, Apple's platform has provided you with over 160 million downloads of your app, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in incremental revenue to Spotify. That's why we find it troubling that you are asking for exemptions to the rules we apply to all developers and are publicly resorting to rumors and half-truths about our service.

Our guidelines help competition, not hurt it. The fact that we compete has never influenced how Apple treats Spotify or other successful competitors like Google Play Music, Tidal, Amazon Music, Pandora or the numerous other apps on the App Store that distribute digital music.

Sewell goes on to say that Spotify's belief it should not have to pay to take advantage of the "benefits of Apple's hard work" is "simply unfair and unreasonable," pointing out that the App Store rules existed long before Apple Music was introduced. He also points out the new revenue split rules for subscriptions, which will see Apple taking a 15 percent cut from customers who have subscribed to a service for more than a year, instead of a 30 percent cut.

Sewell's letter to Spotify ends with some clarification on why Spotify's app was rejected on May 26. Spotify replaced its in-app subscription purchase options with an account sign-up feature Apple says was "clearly intended to circumvent Apple's in-app purchase rules."

Apple notified Spotify about the guideline violation and following discussions with Apple, Spotify submitted a new version of the app on June 10 that incorporated the same sign-up feature asking for customer email addresses to be used to invite customers to sign up for a Spotify subscription on the web, which Apple again rejected.

That feature exists only for the purpose of avoiding to having to pay Apple for your use of the App Store by emailing customers within hours, directing them to subscribe to Spotify on its website. A clear violation of the terms every other developer adheres to. [...]

There is nothing in Apple's conduct that "amounts to a violation of applicable antitrust laws." Far from it. Apple has continued to innovate with lower pricing for our customers, and a new revenue share model for the developers that have helped make us so successful. We understand 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.

In Spotify's own letter, sent to Apple on June 26 but made public yesterday, Spotify accused Apple of causing "grave harm" to its business by rejecting the app update. Spotify said Apple's aim was to "exclude and diminish the competitiveness of Spotify on iOS," which "raises serious concerns under both US and EU competition law."

Sewell's full letter to Spotify can be read over at BuzzFeed.

Top Rated Comments

bbeagle Avatar
61 months ago
Say you wrote a software package that you sold on the web for $29.

You want the same profit, but you want to sell it at Walmart. Walmart takes a 35% cut. Your software must cost around $49 at Walmart to give you the same profits.

Would Walmart have an issue with your software when someone opened the box there was a note that asked you to 'return this to Walmart - save $20 - and buy it over the web for $29'.

This is exactly what Spotify is doing.
Score: 143 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alecgold Avatar
61 months ago
Clear, strong and polite reaction from apple. And as it now looks a bit stupid on Spotify.
Score: 73 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DrumApple Avatar
61 months ago
Apple is full of it when it comes to this. They own and run the App Store like the government, with plenty of deceit.

How is it that Spotify isn't labeled as an Essential app when it is the most widely used streaming music service in the world? Oh, because it competes with Apple Music? A dating app like Tinder is labeled as an Essential app, and how much do you want to bet that if Apple were to get into the dating app business they'd sink Tinder down to the bottom of the barrel in a heartbeat.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ries Avatar
61 months ago
Yeah right, "we firmly adhere to the principle of treating all developers fairly and equitably", all except themselves. Which is their whole point.

Us users have paid plenty for Apple's hard work (Check Apple's profit on iOS devices), stop ****ing us users over by forcing other app providers out by using unfair competition.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
6836838 Avatar
61 months ago
I downloaded the Spotify App and subscribed via Spotify's website, so I don't really see the issue here.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gijoeinla Avatar
61 months ago
Dubious says the competitor (Spotify) that before there was ever an Apple Music, it itself was the M O N O P O L Y of the paid streaming market.

This insistence that it, Spotify, should just be able to "use" another platform "at will" and demand special exceptions is.... ludicrous.

Poor poor Spitify.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple transfer google photos 1

Apple Launches Service for Transferring iCloud Photos and Videos to Google Photos

Wednesday March 3, 2021 12:04 pm PST by
Apple this week introduced a new service that's designed to make it quick and easy for iCloud users to transfer their stored photos and videos to Google Photos. As outlined in an Apple support document, you can go to Apple's privacy website and sign in to see the "Transfer a copy of your data" option. If you select this and go through all the steps, Apple will transfer your iCloud photos and ...
rosetta 2

Rosetta May Be Removed From M1 Macs in Some Regions on macOS 11.3

Tuesday March 2, 2021 5:20 pm PST by
Installing the upcoming macOS 11.3 software update on an M1 Mac may result in Rosetta 2 being removed in one or more regions around the world. In the third beta of macOS 11.3 seeded to developers for testing today, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser uncovered new strings in the beta's code indicating that "Rosetta will be removed upon installing this update." Another new string reads "Rosetta ...
Screen Shot 2021 03 03 at 11

MagSafe Charging Port for iPhone Appears in Apple Patent

Wednesday March 3, 2021 1:30 am PST by
In a newly granted patent, Apple envisions a type of connectivity port using an iteration of its magnetic MagSafe charger to charge an iPhone, potentially paving the way for a future without Lightning. Submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday (via Patently Apple), the patent outlines a three-pinned MagSafe charger, similar to the ones found in older MacBook...
Oled iPads and MackBook Pro

OLED 10.9-Inch iPad Rumored for Early 2022, 12.9-Inch iPad Pro and 16-Inch MacBook Pro Could Follow

Thursday March 4, 2021 8:37 pm PST by
Earlier today, DigiTimes shared a preview of an upcoming report claiming that Apple is working on both iPad and Mac notebook models with OLED displays that could launch starting in 2022. The full report from DigiTimes is now available, and it includes several new alleged details about Apple's plans. According to the report, the first of these devices to adopt an OLED display is likely to be...
OLED iPad Pro and MacBook Pro

iPad and MacBook Models With OLED Displays Rumored to Launch in 2022

Thursday March 4, 2021 8:19 am PST by
Apple plans to release new iPad and MacBook models with OLED displays in 2022, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The information was shared in the site's paywalled "Before Going to Press" section, so there are no further details yet, but the full report should be released by tomorrow. Apple has gradually increased its adoption of OLED...
iPad mini pro feature

Sketchy Rumor Claims 'iPad Mini Pro' Launching in Second Half of 2021

Wednesday March 3, 2021 3:04 am PST by
Apple is expected to launch a sixth-generation iPad mini in the first half of 2021, possibly as soon as this March, based on long-standing rumors. However, a new rumor out of Asia that has gained traction in the last 24 hours suggests an "iPad mini Pro" will arrive in the second half of this year. According to a post on Korean blog Naver, whose rumor track record is unknown, the device...
maxresdefault

What's on Your iPhone Home Screen?

Thursday March 4, 2021 10:31 am PST by
Over on our YouTube channel, MacRumors videographer Dan has a new video up where he shares his Home Screen, wallpaper, and all of his current favorite widgets. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Check out Dan's video to see his setup, and then comment below and show us your own Home Screens. It's always fun to see other peoples' Home Screens, and with widgets and...
apple pencil 3 leak

New Apple Pencil Allegedly Leaks With Glossy Finish and Redesigned Tip

Wednesday March 3, 2021 6:17 am PST by
Images supposedly depicting a third-generation Apple Pencil have been shared on Twitter by the leaker known as "Mr. White." The purported new Apple Pencil appears to share a very similar design to the current, second-generation Apple Pencil, which is shorter than the previous version and charges inductively on the side of an iPad. The updated Apple Pencil appears to have a glossy...
apple watch ecg wrist

Apple Watch ECG Feature Gets Approved in Australia

Wednesday March 3, 2021 2:07 am PST by
The Australian government has approved ECG functionality on the Apple Watch, giving Apple the all-clear to launch the feature for Apple Watch users in the country, according to a regulatory document first spotted by The 8-Bit. Earlier last month, the Apple Watch's irregular heart rhythm notification received approval in Australia, although ECG did not. Irregular heart rhythm is a feature...
PIA23764 RoverNamePlateonMars web

NASA Mars Perseverance Rover Uses Same PowerPC Chipset Found in 1998 G3 iMac

Tuesday March 2, 2021 3:21 am PST by
NASA's Perseverance rover, which recently made history landing on the surface of Mars, is powered by the same processor used in an iMac more than 23 years old. Image Credit: NASA As reported by NewScientist (via Gizmodo), the rover includes the PowerPC 750 processor, the same chip used in the G3 iMac in 1998. The main chipset is the same; however, there are differences between the...