The war to lead the media streaming industry is still heating up, now more than ever as Spotify is outraged at Apple for restricting an app update on the iTunes store.
The app update has been restricted because Spotify allows users to bypass Apple's billing system, billing users directly using Spotify's own system.
Apple's App Store charges a %30 fee for purchases made within an app for other subscriptions, like Spotify. So as a result, Spotify's $10 monthly subscription fee would be $13 if purchased through the App Store. As of this story's publication, the Spotify app does not allow users to purchase subscriptions, and the streaming platform says Apple is mad about this, which has resulted in the restriction of the most recent update.
Apple's own music streaming platform, Apple Music, costs $9.99 a month, and this recent move does seem to indicate that the company is trying to push users to it's own platform. Neither company has commented on the situation at this time.
Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez wrote a letter to Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell and distributed it to members of Congress. In the letter Gutierrez said Apple’s behavior is “causing grave harm to Spotify and its customers.”
“This latest episode raises serious concerns under both U.S. and EU competition law,” Gutierrez declared. “It continues a troubling pattern of behavior by Apple to exclude and diminish the competitiveness of Spotify on iOS and as a rival to Apple Music, particularly when seen against the backdrop of Apple’s previous anticompetitive conduct aimed at Spotify … we cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors.”
Even Senator Elizabeth Warren has recently criticized leading companies like Apple, Amazon and Google for what she says is anticompetitive practices; Warren stated that “Apple has long used its control of iOS to squash competition in music.”
Apple may be abusing it's power over the App Store by halting app updates, but unless legal action is taken, it's hard to see why the company would comply with Spotify's requests. Apple still may allow the update, they might just be moving at the slowest pace possible.