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Apple Rebuts Spotify's Claim That Apple Is Using App Store Approval Process As 'A Weapon' To Harm Spotify

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Apple has fired back against Spotify, retorting against what it calls "half truths." While Spotify calls for Apple to allow alternatives to its iTunes billing service, Apple claims the company is asking for preferential treatment.

Spotify's latest spat with Apple started when the iOS-maker rejected an update to the Spotify app for iOS. Spotify asserts that its iOS app is being crippled by Apple in order to make the music streaming service less competitive with Apple Music, but Bruce Sewell, Apple general counsel, rebutted that claim on Friday.

"We find it troubling that you are asking for exemptions to the rules we apply to all developers and are publicly resorting to rumors and half-truths about our service," wrote Sewell in a letter to Spotify, obtained by Buzzfeed.

For at least a year now, Spotify has been trying to skirt the iTunes billing fee that Apple charges on streaming music apps listed in the iTunes App Store. The fee can run up to 30 percent of subscription service revenues.

Third-party developers like Spotify are free to offer alternative forms of billing, but they aren't allowed to tell iOS users about it inside of iOS app. And they're also forbidden from selling iOS apps outside of the Apple's app store.

Spotify has tried passing on the 30 percent Apple tax to iOS users, charging them $13 for using iTunes billing instead of the service's standard $10 price. Spotify has also tried to a promotion that offered three months of service for just a buck.

Now with Apple Music's paid subscriber base now past 15 million, in roughly half of Spotify's premium users in about a year's time, and alleged rejection of Spotify's latest iOS update, the Swedish company is digging it to avoid losing more ground.

"We did not alter our behavior or our rules when we introduced our own music streaming service or when Spotify became a competitor," said Sewell. "Ironically, it is now Spotify that wants things to be different by asking for preferential treatment from Apple."

While Apple may not have changed the rules, that 30 percent cut it takes gives Apple Music an edge of Spotify. For Apple Music, that charge is merely moving money around within the company.

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