Spotify Calls Apple’s App Store Restrictions ‘An Abusive Power Grab’

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At an App Store antitrust hearing that took place today, Spotify and Match Group (the company behind Tinder) accused Apple of abusing its ‌App Store‌ powers to to disadvantage rival services, reports Bloomberg. Spotify chief Legal Officer Horacio Gutierrez said that Apple’s rules are “nothing more than an abusive power grab.”

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“Apple abuses its dominant position as a gatekeeper of the ‌App Store‌ to insulate itself from competition and disadvantage rival services like Spotify,” Horacio Gutierrez, Spotify’s chief legal officer, told lawmakers. Apple’s restrictions on developers, he added, “are nothing more than an abusive power grab and a confiscation of the value created by others.

Spotify has had an ongoing feud with Apple since the debut of Apple Music. ‌Apple Music‌ is priced at $9.99, a price point that Spotify is unable to match due to the 30 percent cut that Apple takes, as it does not leave enough margin for Spotify to make money. Spotify has complained that it has no choice but to charge more on iOS devices and no alternative as Apple does not allow it to offer alternative signup or payment options in its app.

Match, meanwhile, complained that it had wanted to add ID verification rules to boost the app’s safety in Taiwan, but Apple would not allow it to do so. Match contacted an Apple executive, who allegedly told the company that it should be glad Apple was not taking all of its revenue. “You owe us every dime you’ve made,” the Apple executive reportedly said.

The “Antitrust Applied: Examining Competition in App Stores” hearing is examining App Stores and mobile competition, and is focused on Apple and Google. Apple’s Chief Compliance Officer Kyle Andeer was in attendance to defend Apple.

Andeer stuck to Apple’s standard talking points about how the ‌App Store‌ revolutionized software distribution and made it easier for developers to reach new users. Andeer said that Apple’s strict ‌App Store‌ rules are designed to meet privacy, safety, and performance standards.

Apple’s ‌App Store‌ rules are also facing a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust investigation, and Apple is currently gearing up for a showdown over its ‌App Store‌ policies with Epic Games.

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