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“Monopolists” always deny wrongdoing, Spotify says of Apple’s competition complaint response

By | Published on Monday 18 March 2019


Spotify has hit back at Apple’s response to the competition law complaint it has filed against its rival in Europe, saying that the tech giant’s counter arguments are pretty much what it expected and that “every monopolist will suggest they have done nothing wrong”.

After Spotify filed its long-expected complaint with the European Commission last week – a filing accompanied by a blog post from founder Daniel Ek and a whole micro-site setting out the company’s arguments – Apple quickly published a reaction statement.

Disputing most of its rival’s allegations – including the key claim that Apple exploits its operating system and App Store to give Apple Music an unfair advantage – the tech giant said that Spotify simply wanted to make use of its platform and technologies without paying for the privilege.

It then connected its dispute with Spotify with its competitor’s concurrent run-in with the songwriters and music publishers of America, ie the one over the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision to increase the royalties streaming firms must pay for the song rights they exploit.

Apple is one of the few digital music companies not appealing that rate increase, which allowed it to include a sneaky extra dig in its response to the competition law complaint, to the effect that Spotify is keen to short change all of its key business partners.

The Apple statement last week concluded: “Spotify wouldn’t be the business they are today without the App Store ecosystem. But now they’re leveraging their scale to avoid contributing to maintaining that ecosystem for the next generation of app entrepreneurs. We think that’s wrong”.

Responding, Spotify said on Friday: “Every monopolist will suggest they have done nothing wrong and will argue that they have the best interests of competitors and consumers at heart. In that way, Apple’s response to our complaint before the European Commission is not new and is entirely in line with our expectations”.

Standing its ground, Spotify went on: “We filed our complaint because Apple’s actions hurt competition and consumers, and are in clear violation of the law. This is evident in Apple’s belief that Spotify’s users on iOS are Apple customers and not Spotify customers, which goes to the very heart of the issue with Apple. We respect the process the European Commission must now undertake to conduct its review”.

As do we all, I’m sure.