Why did Spotify publicly criticise Apple’s App Store policies earlier this week? A new report in Recode sheds more light on the escalating dispute between the two companies, with a leaked letter from Spotify’s general counsel Horacio Gutierrez to Apple’s general counsel Bruce Sewell.
Gutierrez accused Apple of refusing to approve an update to Spotify’s iOS app, claiming the company is “causing grave harm to Spotify and its customers”. The spark for this latest dispute was Spotify promoting its $0.99-for-three-months subscription offer (which required users to sign up on Spotify’s website) within the iOS app. “This latest episode raises serious concerns under both US and EU competition law,” wrote Gutierrez. “It continues a troubling pattern of behaviour by Apple to exclude and diminish the competitiveness of Spotify on iOS and as a rival to Apple Music… we cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors.” The question now is whether politicians will agree, and if so, what they’ll do about it.