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Apple Claps Back at Spotify Over App Update Controversy

“You are publicly resorting to rumors and half-truths about our service.”

Last week, Spotify called Apple out for being “anticompetitive” because the company’s App Store apparently rejected an app update for Spotify. The update finds Spotify offering a promotion to its users who signed up for the service on its website rather than within the app — a tactic used used to minimize the sharing of additional revenue with Apple. A top Spotify lawyer accused Apple and Apple Music for “uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors.” In a letter sent by Apple’s General Counsel Bruce Sewell on Friday, they claim Spotify are “are asking for exemptions to the rules [Apple] apply to all developers and are publicly resorting to rumors and half-truths about [the] service.” The letter notes that Spotify has “benefited enormously” from the App Store and requests for the company to update its app to make it compatible with the App Store’s developer guidelines. Sewell continued:

“Our investment in the App Store is not trivial — any great retailer will tell you there is an incredible amount of effort that goes into maintaining their store. However, if a customer chooses to sign up for a digital product outside of the App Store the developer does not pay us anything, and their content will still work inside of Apple devices. To imply that Spotify should not have to pay to avail itself of the benefits of Apple’s hard work, just as every other developer does, would give you a tremendous advantage over other developers. It’s simply unfair and unreasonable. 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 equally.”

In addition, Sewell also notes that Apple has recently changed its rules for app subscriptions in order for companies like Spotify to be able to keep more revenue from app subscriptions after the first year. He points out that Spotify will not be approved for an update until it falls with the said guidelines.

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