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Apple says Spotify wants 'preferential treatment' for iOS app

Engadget Engadget 1/07/2016 Billy Steele
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It didn't take long for Apple to respond to Spotify's claim that it's using App Store approvals a way to handle competitors. In a letter obtained by BuzzFeed, Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell described the allegation as "troubling" and that Spotify was "asking for exemptions to the rules we apply to all developers." Sewell went on to say that the streaming service was "publicly resorting to rumors and half-truths about our service" with its statements about App Store policies being designed to squash competition.

Reports surfaced yesterday that Spotify's counsel Horacio Gutierrez sent a letter to Apple last week to let the company know what it thought about a pending app update being held up. The streaming service is taking issue with the App Store's 30 percent fee for use of its billing system for subscriptions that applies to all developers. In other words, if users sign up through Spotify's iOS app, they're charged $13 a month instead of the usual $10 to cover the fee. Sewell explained that Apple treats all app devs the same across games, e-books and both video and music streaming, and more specifically that those terms didn't change when Apple Music launched and Spotify became a direct competitor.

"Ironically, it is now Spotify that wants things to be different by asking for preferential treatment from Apple," Sewell said. He went on to reiterate that nothing about how the system is set up violates antitrust laws like Gutierrez argued in his own letter last week. What's more, the Spotify app that's currently available in the App Store actually violates the company's guidelines.

"I would be happy to facilitate an expeditious review and approval of your app as soon as you provide us with something that is compliant with the App Store's rules," Sewell said.

Neither Apple nor Spotify responded to Engadget's request for comments on the matter.

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