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Apple Defends App Store Policies After Spotify’s Antitrust Complaint

Category: Europe,World

LONDON — Apple responded on Friday to antitrust claims made by the music streaming service Spotify, saying its policies are fair and accusing its rival of being motivated by a need to bolster financial results.

Spotify filed a complaint with European regulators this week, accusing Apple of using its App Store to undercut companies that compete with its own services, like Apple Music.

In a statement published on its website, Apple said that Spotify was not treated any differently from the millions of other developers who use the App Store.

Apple accused Spotify of trying to use the advantages of the App Store, which provides access to millions of Apple users, without having to pay fees that Apple says are necessary to keep the marketplace thriving. Apple charges a fee of up to 30 percent for anything sold through the App Store.

“Spotify is asking to keep all those benefits while also retaining 100 percent of the revenue,” Apple said. “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.”

The dispute highlights a larger debate about the role of large tech platforms like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google, and whether their size and power impedes competition. Amazon is the subject of a European antitrust investigation related to its treatment of independent sellers on its marketplace. Google was fined by the European Commission last year for antitrust violations stemming from its Android operating system.

“When the company that runs a platform also competes with businesses that depend on that platform, we face the risk that it could use its power to drive out competition in not one market, but dozens,” Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s antitrust chief, said in a speech this week.

Apple said that the App Store has created millions of jobs and generated more than $120 billion for developers since its introduction in 2008. It ushered in a new era of mobile computing, allowing companies like Instagram, Uber and others to reach users.

Spotify’s app has been downloaded more than 309 million times, according to Apple.

“The App Store is a safe, secure platform where users can have faith in the apps they discover and the transactions they make,” Apple said. “And developers, from first-time engineers to larger companies, can rest assured that everyone is playing by the same set of rules.”

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