Apple on Thursday responded to Spotify’s complaint with EU antitrust regulators, saying the audio streaming service “wants all the benefits of a free app without being free”.
The iPhone maker said the App Store contributed to Spotify becoming the business it is today, a public company that generates over a billion dollars of revenue per quarter, according to a statement on Friday.
Spotify said on Wednesday the company unfairly limits rivals to its own music streaming service. Apple’s control of its App Store deprived consumers of choice and rival providers of audio streaming services to the benefit of Apple Music, which began in 2015, Spotify added.
Spotify outlined different ways in which Apple uses its power to make its platform an “uneven playing field.” The company complained to the European Union’s powerful antitrust agency that Apple’s 30 percent cut of revenue was effectively a tax on competitors.
In its response to Spotify’s complaints, Apple said it doesn’t charge for distributing free apps and only takes the 30 percent from paid subscriptions on its platform. It also said that rate drops to 15 percent for subscriptions of more than a year.
“The majority of customers use their free, ad-supported product, which makes no contribution to the App Store,” Apple said. “Even now, only a tiny fraction of their subscriptions fall under Apple’s revenue-sharing model. Spotify is asking for that number to be zero.”
"Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app without being free," Apple added. Apple said that the majority of customers use their free, ad-supported product, which makes no contribution to the App Store.
The Stockholm-based music streaming service also said Apple "routinely blocks" some of its product upgrades, such as integration with the Siri digital assistant and the Apple Watch.
Apple said it had approved and distributed nearly 200 app updates on Spotify’s behalf, resulting in over 300 million downloaded copies of the Spotify app. "The only time we have requested adjustments is when Spotify has tried to sidestep the same rules that every other app follows," Apple said.
Apple also said that it has worked with Spotify frequently to help them bring their service to more devices and platforms. The company says it has reached out to Spotify about Siri and AirPlay 2 support on several occasions. Spotify is pntegrated into platforms like CarPlay, and they have access to the same app development tools and resources that any other developer has, acording to Apple.
Apple said that when Spotify submitted their Apple Watch app in September 2018, the company reviewed and approved it with the same process and speed with which would any other 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 said.
Spotify has not commented on Apple’s response.