Are Apple’s App Store restrictions an “abusive power grab?” That’s the charge by Horacio Gutierrez, chief legal officer of Spotify. Bloomberg reports:
Music-streaming service Spotify Technology SA and Match Group Inc., which operates online dating apps, accused Apple Inc. of squeezing software developers that depend on its App Store to reach customers by extracting monopoly profits and squashing competition.
Executives from the two companies, along with Tile Inc., which makes a tracking device for consumers, urged lawmakers at a Senate hearing Wednesday to tackle the dominance of Apple and Google over the digital marketplaces where users download apps.
Although Apple and Google hold a duopoly in the Western world’s app store ecosystem, much of the ire was directed at Apple, which charges big developers 30% of revenue, a cut that witnesses at the hearing said amounts to a “tax.”
“Apple abuses its dominant position as a gatekeeper of the App Store to insulate itself from competition and disadvantage rival services like Spotify,” Horacio Gutierrez, Spotify’s chief legal officer, told lawmakers. The streaming service competes with Apple Music. Apple’s restrictions on developers, he added, “are nothing more than an abusive power grab and a confiscation of the value created by others.”
App developers have complained for years that Apple and Alphabet Inc.’s Google force them to give up too big a portion of revenue collected from app sales. They also complain that rules governing app stores are overly strict and inconsistent. Gutierrez, for example, complained about what he called Apple’s “gag order,” a rule that prevents Spotify from telling app users they can sign up for Spotify at lower prices elsewhere. Executives also accused Apple of copying products from other developers and retaliating against partners that speak out against its practices.
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