Spotify, Epic Unsatisfied With Apple’s App Store Changes

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Rivals criticise terms of Apple’s settlement with small developers, with Spotify saying changes don’t address ‘anticompetitive and unfair practices’

Music streaming service Spotify has criticised Apple’s settlement last week with small developers over its App Store practices, saying the arrangement does not address basic aspects of their “anticompetitive and unfair practices”.

“They are attempting to distract policymakers and regulators,” said Spotify’s chief legal officer, Horacio Gutierrez.

“Apple has been allowed to abuse their dominant position for years, and we continue to seek real reforms to ensure that companies can innovate and compete fairly, on a level playing field.”

Epic Games chief executive Tim Sweeney, whose company is engaged in a legal battle with Apple over App Store restrictions, said on Twitter that Epic is “fighting on”.

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“The lawsuit Apple settled… was the developer class action suit, not our Epic v Apple case,” he wrote.

In a 2019 complaint to the European Commission, Spotify said Apple placed unfair restrictions on competitors to its own Apple Music streaming service and protested against the 30 percent commission levied on app developers to use Apple’s in-app purchase system.

EU regulators are currently carrying out an investigation into whether the App Store rules for streaming services violate antitrust rules, following Spotify’s complaint.

Last week Apple reached a proposed settlement, which must still be approved by the court, giving small developers some leeway about the use of Apple’s in-app payment system.

The company said small developers will now be allowed to inform customers via email about ways to bypass Apple’s payment system, with its commission charges, something they were previously barred from doing under the App Store’s terms.

Settlement

The settlement also includes more pricing tiers and a new transparency report about the app review process.

The class-action lawsuit was filed in 2019 by two small developers who said Apple’s restrictions on app downloads were anticompetitive.

“The agreement clarifies that developers can share purchase options with users outside of their iOS app; expands the price points developers can offer for subscriptions, in-app purchases, and paid apps; and establishes a new fund to assist qualifying US developers,” Apple said.

“The terms of the agreement will help make the App Store an even better business opportunity for developers, while maintaining the safe and trusted marketplace users love.”

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