Spotify is at the forefront of the criticism of Apple’s App Store ecosystem, and yesterday that saw the two companies go head to head in a hearing convened by the US Senate’s subcommittee on competition policy, antitrust, and consumer rights.
Spotify’s head of global affairs and chief legal officer Horacio Gutierrez and Apple’s chief compliance officer and VP of corporate law Kyle Andeer gave evidence, alongside representatives from Google, Tile, Tinder’s parent company Match Group, and the Consumer Federation of America.
Gutierrez ran through Spotify’s allegations that Apple has sought to interfere with its business regularly down the years. “Apple’s unfettered and unilateral power to impose its web of restrictions effectively prevents head-to-head competition between Spotify and Apple Music based on consumers’ assessments of the quality of the two services,” he claimed.
“Apple instead has aggressively used its App store policies to handicap Spotify in numerous ways: forcing Spotify to choose between a price increase that would render its offering uncompetitive, and restrictions that make it much more difficult to communicate discount offers and other opportunities and, more generally, anything that would enable customers to purchase its service.”
You can read Gutierrez’s statement here. Apple, of course, takes a different view of these matters. “We’re proud of the store we’ve built, the experiences it has provided for customers, and the opportunities it has created for developers. Entirely new industries have been born, creating millions of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity across all 50 states,” said Andeer.
“It’s the sort of thing that is possible when competition is fierce and fair. Apple, after all, was started by tinkerers and dreamers, and we became successful over time because we had an opportunity to compete. We were in a street fight back then, and we still are today. And we like it that way because we know that competition spurs innovation and, with it, more and better choices for customers.”
You can read Andeer’s statement here, and watch the hearing itself here, as senators got stuck in to the debates around Apple’s store and its approach to competitors.
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