Spotify Accuses Apple of Blocking App Update to Squash Competition

Spotify Accuses Apple of Blocking App Update to Squash Competition
The streaming wars continue, with a letter from major player Spotify now accusing Apple of refusing to post an iPhone app update of their service, "causing grave harm to Spotify and its customers."

Recode reports [via Pitchfork] that Spotify's legal counsel Horacio Gutierrez sent a letter to Apple's top lawyer this week to complain about how the company apparently rejected Spotify's latest mobile update, citing "business model rules." The Apple team also allegedly threatened its competitor into using its billing system if "Spotify wants to use the app to acquire new customers and sell subscriptions."

Gutierrez's June 26 letter to Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell further claimed that the rejected app update could be in violation of U.S. and European competition law and a cause of "serious concern."

"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," Gutierrez wrote, adding, "We cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors."

The letter was reportedly shared with legislative staffers in Washington, DC, which is notable considering U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren criticized and accused Apple Music of a holding a monopolizing, anti-competitive power structure.

As it stands, Apple currently does not require other subscription services to use its iTunes billing service, but it likewise doesn't allow them to use an alternate payment system within the app. For those that do use the billing service, Apple charges a monthly fee of up to 30 percent.

"You know there's something wrong when Apple makes more off a Spotify subscription than it does off an Apple Music subscription and doesn't share any of that with the music industry," Spotify global head of communications and public policy Jonathan Price told Recode earlier in the week.

Apple has yet to comment on the Spotify update block or billing practices in light of its competitor's complaints.