Spotify Legal Chief: 'Apple's Ability to Strangle its Competitors is Unprecedented'

Amid the ongoing legal battle between Epic Games and Apple, Spotify's chief legal officer and head of global affairs Horacio Gutierrez penned an anti-App Store op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, where he summarizes Spotify's issues with Apple.

spotify complaint apple eu
Gutierrez says that Spotify is one of the few companies that insists Apple is a "ruthless bully that uses its dominance to hobble competitors."

Spotify has long been upset with Apple's App Store fees, as the 15 to 30 percent cut that Apple takes from subscriptions means that Spotify has to either raise its prices for those who sign up via the ‌App Store‌ or decline to offer subscriptions on iOS at all, which is what Spotify has opted for.

Apple's "antisteering" rules prevent Spotify from directing iPhone and iPad customers to the Spotify website to sign up, which Spotify argues gives Apple Music some major advantages.

The company has also argued that Spotify pays 15% of its revenue on only 0.5% of its subscriptions. But that's because Apple's exorbitant 30% tax on new subscriptions forced us to turn off in-app purchases in 2016. It made more business sense to cut iPhone and iPad users off from a path to subscriptions than to absorb the 30% cut for new ones.

Gutierrez points out the many regulatory issues that Apple is facing in Europe and the United States. The European Commission in April found that Apple breached EU competition law with ‌Apple Music‌, and in April, the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee questioned Apple's App Store policies. Spotify, Tile, and others attended the latter hearing and said that if Apple's ‌App Store‌ rules aren't changed, Apple will take over the internet, "limiting innovation, squashing small businesses, and all but eliminating customer choice."

Spotify is asking the U.S. to speed up its regulatory initiatives against Apple with "urgent, narrowly tailored updates" to antitrust law to "end such egregious abuses."

Gutierrez says that Spotify isn't asking for special treatment, but wants "fair treatment," and he sums up his piece by stating that Apple's "ability to strangle its competitors is unprecedented." He says that those in a position "to do something" have now "seen past Apple's facade" and are now acting on the behalf of "innovators and consumers around the world."

Tag: Spotify

Top Rated Comments

alex00100 Avatar
23 months ago
I can agree that apple has the right to its cut on payments done through App Store, but apple not allowing Spotify to direct people to its website seems shady
Score: 62 Votes (Like | Disagree)
omenatarhuri Avatar
23 months ago
These are rather problematic, not just Music, but also the other categories where Apple directly competes with others in the App Store, like Fitness and Video Streaming.

It's a difficult position to compete from if you have to give 30% revenue to your competitor to begin with.
Score: 62 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Macintosh IIvx Avatar
23 months ago
This is the same guy who enthusiastically spearheaded Microsoft's monopolistic software patent extortion scheme against open source software. And now he is worried about monopolist worms? He was the worm in Microsoft with their extortion scheme against open source. Why should anyone pay attention to what he says?
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
icanhazmac Avatar
23 months ago

I can agree that apple has the right to its cut on payments done through App Store, but apple not allowing Spotify to direct people to its website seems shady
Again, should Best Buy allow free items to exist on their shelves, advertised by them, traffic created by them, etc. with a label on the item that says pay for activation at www.websitex.com? ('http://www.websitex.com?')

Even if its not free, if the item has a price tag of $19.99 but a sticker on it says "or pay for me at www.websitex.com (http://www.websitex.com) and pay only $14.99" no retailer on the planet would allow that.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nickawhite Avatar
23 months ago
So the company with 158 million subscribers is being "hobbled" by the company with 72 million subscribers? ?
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djcerla Avatar
23 months ago
They should thank Apple and the App Store every morning before the coffee.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

iOS 16.3 Now Available for Your iPhone With These 4 New Features

Friday February 3, 2023 1:13 pm PST by
Apple released iOS 16.3 in late January following nearly six weeks of beta testing. The software update is available for the iPhone 8 and newer, and while it is a relatively minor update, it still includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped new features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

Gurman: Apple Considering New High-End iPhone Alongside Pro and Pro Max

Sunday February 5, 2023 6:07 am PST by
Apple has discussed selling a new top-of-the-line iPhone alongside the Pro and Pro Max models in 2024 at the earliest, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Based on this timeframe, the device would be part of the iPhone 16 lineup or later. In a September 2022 edition of his weekly "Power On" newsletter, Gurman said there was "potential" for an iPhone 15 Ultra to replace the iPhone 15 Pro...
ipad air purple

Deals: M1 iPad Air Hits Record-Low Prices at TigerDirect, Starting at $313.99 (48% Off) [Updated]

Saturday February 4, 2023 10:05 am PST by
Online retailer TigerDirect has slashed pricing on the M1 iPad Air in several colors, offering the base 64GB configuration for just $313.99 in Purple and Pink. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with TigerDirect. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. That's a savings of 48% compared to Apple's normal $599.00...
mac studio pink

Apple May Not Launch Updated Mac Studio With M2 Ultra Chip Due to Similarity With Upcoming Mac Pro

Sunday February 5, 2023 6:06 am PST by
A new version of the Mac Studio with the "M2 Ultra" chip is unlikely to arrive in the near future, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explained that since the upcoming Apple silicon Mac Pro is "very similar in functionality to the Mac Studio," Apple may wait until the release of M3- or M4-series chips to update the machine, or...
webkit vs chromium feature

Google Working on Browser for iOS That Would Break Apple's App Store Rules

Saturday February 4, 2023 1:30 am PST by
Google's Chromium developers are working on an experimental web browser for iOS that would break Apple's browser engine restrictions, The Register reports. The experimental browser, which is being actively pursued by developers, uses Google's Blink engine. Yet if Google attempted to release it on the App Store, it would not pass Apple's App Review process. Apple's App Store rules dictate...
Apple Silicon Teal Feature

The Next Big Apple Silicon Device May Not Be a Mac or iPad

Wednesday February 1, 2023 3:57 am PST by
Apple's next device with an Apple silicon chip may not be a Mac or an iPad, but rather an advanced external display, according to recent reports. The display, which is rumored to arrive this year, is expected to sit somewhere between the $1,599 Studio Display and the $4,999 Pro Display XDR – but more exact information about the device's positioning and price point is as yet unknown. While ...
top stories 4feb2023

Top Stories: New HomePod Launches, iOS 16.3.1 Coming Soon, and More

Saturday February 4, 2023 6:00 am PST by
This week saw the launch of the final product from Apple's January hardware announcements, with the second-generation HomePod making its way into customers' hands. Other news and rumors this week included signs of an interim iOS 16.3.1 bug fix update in the works as we await a fresh round of beta testing for a more significant iOS 16.4 update, a report on the potential dangers of using...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Apple's Second-Generation HomePod

Friday February 3, 2023 1:28 pm PST by
Today is the official launch day for the second-generation HomePod that was introduced in January, and we picked one up to compare it to the original HomePod that Apple discontinued in 2021. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, the second-generation HomePod looks a lot like the first-generation model, featuring the same rounded design and acoustic mesh...