Apple counsel attacks Spotify complaints as 'rumors and half-truths'

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Spotify is "resorting to rumors and half-truths" in order to ask for an exemption from App Store rules, according to a letter to the company by Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell.

"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," Sewell said in the response to Spotify attorney Horacio Gutierrez, seen by BuzzFeed News.

"Our guidelines apply equally to all app developers, whether they are game developers, e-book sellers, video-streaming services or digital music distributors; and regardless of whether or not they compete against Apple," Sewell continued. "We did not alter our behavior or our rules when we introduced our own music streaming service or when Spotify became a competitor."

The letter in fact suggests that it's Spotify that's asking for "preferential treatment," and vehemently denies any violation of antitrust laws. Sewell moreover claims that Spotify's current iOS app already violates App Store guidelines, never mind the rejected update.

Earlier this week Gutierrez accused Apple of anticompetitiveness and harming both Spotify and its customers by rejecting an app update for unspecified "business model rules." It's not clear what was in the update, but it presumably relates to the complaint that Apple's 30 percent cut of all in-app purchases — even for outside services — forces Spotify to sell in-app subscriptions for $12.99 per month instead of its usual $9.99. Apple Music is not only built into iOS, but can offer a $9.99 pricetag since Apple keeps all revenue.