Ahead of $500 million EU fine, Apple accuses Spotify of wanting free 'borderless access' to its tools

Over the weekend, it was reported that the EU commission was preparing to fine Apple $500 million for its anti-competitive App Store policies regarding music streaming services . The decision following the EU investigation followed a complaint from Spotify that began in 2013.

In a new statement to 9to5Mac today, Apple reiterated its belief that Spotify's complaint concerns this “ trying to get unlimited access to all of Apple's tools without paying anything for the value Apple provides.”

Updated at 6:42 pm ET with a statement from Spotify.

Apple's full statement:

We're excited to support the success of all developers, including Spotify, the largest music streaming app in the world. Spotify pays nothing to Apple for the services that have helped them create, update and share their app with Apple users in 160 countries around the world. Essentially, their complaint is about an attempt to gain unlimited access to all of Apple's tools without paying anything for the value Apple provides.

The investigation was first prompted by Spotify's complaint to EU regulators. which first appeared in 2013 and was officially filed four years ago. In 2021, the EU reached a preliminary conclusion that the App Store unfairly favors Apple Music over Spotify and other music streaming services.

This EU ruling will only focus on how anti-steering rules affect music streaming services like Spotify, and not any other category of apps. News of the $500 million fine for Apple first broke over the weekend. The EU Commission's decision has not yet been officially announced, so the size of the fine may vary.

In addition to the $500 million fine, the EU ruling will likely force Apple to allow Spotify and other streaming music services to redirect users to external payment methods. This is commonly referred to as Apple's “anti-steering rules.”

However, Apple has made notable changes to its App Store rules in the years since Spotify filed its complaint. Apple has updated Reader; app guidelines to allow Spotify and other services to allow links to their website for account management.

Apple now also allows developers like Spotify to communicate directly with customers through methods like email to share information about payment options outside of their iOS app.

Apple's response to Spotify's accusation h2>

B response to Spotify complaint Apple claims that Spotify pays Apple nothing more than $99 per year for a developer account.

Apple only charges developers a fee for paid apps, digital products, and subscriptions. Spotify is a free app to download and doesn't support Apple's in-app purchase system, so Apple doesn't pay anything. Spotify isn't alone in this: Apple also notes that 88% of active App Store developers in the EU pay zero commission.

Some stats:

  • Spotify has used TestFlight, Apple's developer testing tool, for over 500 versions of its app.
  • Spotify uses thousands of Apple APIs and 60 platforms for its app.
  • Apple's App Review team has reviewed and approved 420 versions of the Spotify app.
  • In total, Spotify has been downloaded or updated on Apple devices more than 119 billion times.

The EU's official decision is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Spotify's response

Spotify's success has occurred despite Apple's best efforts to gain an artificial advantage by favoring its own music service at every turn, while simultaneously putting obstacles and unfair restrictions on ours. Under current rules, Apple controls Spotify's access to its customers and gives Spotify one of two untenable options: either we must provide a poor user experience where we cannot directly communicate how to buy or subscribe to Spotify on iPhone, or we must accept A 30% cost gap compared to our largest competitor. It's not a level playing field. We support the European Commission and believe that they will take action soon to create a fair ecosystem for all participants.”

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