Music streaming service Spotify claims Apple is intentionally making hard update its iPhone app and holding back new features. The updated app reportedly avoids Apple’s payment system altogether, which is permitted, but Apple doesn’t allow the use of an alternative payment system within the app.
Spotify sent a letter to Apple’s top lawyer this week, bashing the iPhone maker for its anti-competitive business model. According to Recode, Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez sent a letter to Apple’s legal representative Bruce Sewell on June 26 blasting the company for its App store subscription limitations.
US Senator Elizabeth Warren also chastised Apple, Amazon and Google for trying to “snuff out competition.”
“[This] 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 anti-competitive conduct aimed at Spotify […] we cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors,” wrote Gutierrez.
We’ve reached out to Spotify and Apple for comment and will update when and if they reply.
Apple shoots itself in the foot
While Apple has the right to set rules for its App Store, it’s easy to see that these rules are making its own products worse. Spotify isn’t the first company to fight back against the Apple’s 30% cut. Amazon removed the ability to purchase books within its Kindle and ComiXology apps, instead pointing users to make purchases in Safari. It’s a band-aid on a real problem.
The main difference is that Google and Amazon allow alternative payment systems within apps. This means Android users can sign up for Spotify using PayPal or a credit card instead of using the Google Wallet system.
Other similar services like Google Play Movies & TV are subjected to the same sub-par user experience on iOS because of Apple’s anti-competitive rules.
You can browse and watch your purchased content but you can’t buy anything within the app itself. Instead, you’ll have to do that in Safari.
Make Apple Music better, not its competitors worse
It makes sense for Apple to prioritize its own apps and services over the competition, especially on its own platform.
But by restricting third-party developers and services, Apple is making its own product worse. Users who don’t want to live exclusively within Apple’s ecosystem are left with a limited user experience and Spotify users would jump to Apple Music because they can’t purchase a subscription.
Instead of making its competitors worse, Apple should make Apple Music better. It’s not that hard for a Spotify user to hop into Safari and sign up for the service. Personally, it’s annoying, but it’s not going to stop me from using the services that I want to use.
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