It took only a few days for Apple to issue an official response to Spotify’s claims that the company is using its App Store approval process as a “weapon”.
In a letter sent today to Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez — obtained by BuzzFeed News — Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell says the company finds it “troubling” that Spotify is “asking for exemptions to the rules we apply to all developers and are publicly resorting to rumors and half-truths about our service.”
Sewell points to the 160 million downloads the Spotify app has had since it has been available in the App Store and the millions of dollars in “incremental revenue” the storefront has brought to the music streaming service. Gutierrez says Apple insisted on using its billing system to sell subscriptions (which means Apple takes a 30% cut, obviously), which prompted him to characterize the move as anticompetitive.
This looks different from Apple’s perspective, so, as a result, the company (and owner of the platform) disagrees. Sewell says the same rules apply to all app developers, and the App Store guidelines “help competition, not hurt it.” He goes on to mention that competition has never influenced how the company treats Spotify or Google Play Music, Tidal, Amazon Music, Pandora, or others.
“Ironically, it is now Spotify that wants things to be different by asking for preferential treatment from Apple”, Sewell notes.
He closes by saying that the Spotify app is still in violation of the App Store’s guidelines, and urges Gutierrez to submit an app that complies with the rules. He then and offers his help: “I would be happy to facilitate an expeditious review and approval of your app as soon as you provide us with something that is compliant with the App Store’s rules.”