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Apple Fires Back Against Spotify Claims As Massive EU Fine Nears: ‘Trying to Get Limitless Access to All of Apple’s Tools Without Paying Anything’

apple spotify dispute

Facing a reportedly $541 million European Commission fine, Apple has publicly addressed the qualms of Spotify, which submitted the underlying EU complaint. Photo Credit: Laurenz Heymann

As the European Commission reportedly prepares to slap Apple with a $541 million fine stemming from an antitrust complaint levied by Spotify, the Apple Music developer has publicly addressed the subject.

Apple’s response to the reportedly imminent penalty – set to total €500 million and center on claims of “‘unfair trading conditions,’” per the Financial Times – just recently began making the media rounds.

“We’re happy to support the success of all developers – including Spotify, which is the largest music-streaming app in the world,” Apple relayed. “Spotify pays Apple nothing for the services that have helped them build, update and share their app with Apple users in 160 countries spanning the globe.

“Fundamentally, their complaint is about trying to get limitless access to all of Apple’s tools without paying anything for the value Apple provides,” proceeded the company, which previously reported generating north of $23 billion in services revenue during 2023’s fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, the tech giant’s public campaign against the fine and Spotify – which, it bears reiterating, has long voiced to the media its qualms with the App Store “tax” and rules – encompasses a number of heretofore unknown details as well.

Shared with TechCrunch, these specifics include the particularly noteworthy stat that Spotify has been downloaded, redownloaded, and updated 119 billion total times across Apple devices. Additionally, Spotify is said to utilize “thousands of Apple’s APIs across 60 frameworks” as well as the TestFlight beta-testing platform, per the same outlet.

Furthermore, 420 Spotify versions have been approved by App Review to date, TechCrunch indicated of Apple’s comments, with the Cupertino-based business’s engineers having ostensibly “helped Spotify solve various challenges” such as battery optimization.

Predictably, given the years of back and forth between Apple and Spotify in their well-documented dispute, the latter took the opportunity to address the Vision Pro maker’s assertions.

“Spotify’s success has happened despite Apple’s best efforts to gain an artificial advantage by favoring their own music service at every turn while placing roadblocks and imposing unfair restrictions on ours,” the profit-minded streaming company maintained.

“Under their current rules Apple controls Spotify’s access to its own customers and gives Spotify one of two untenable options: We either have to deliver a poor user experience where we can’t directly communicate how to buy or subscribe to Spotify on iPhones or we have to accept a 30% cost disadvantage against our biggest competitor.

“This is not a level playing field. We support the European Commission and trust that they will take action soon to create a fair ecosystem for everyone involved,” finished Spotify.

On the Commission front, worth noting in conclusion is the continued sub-dispute between Spotify and Apple over the compliance nuances of the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which will go into effect for Apple and others in early March. Owing to this newest twist – that is, Apple taking its arguments public – it’ll be worth closely monitoring the long-running showdown moving forward, and especially throughout the next month or so.

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