Apple has denied Spotify's claims that the company manages its App Store in a way that "purposely limits choice" and "stifles innovation".
Last week, the Swedish music streaming giant filed a formal complaint with the European Commission (EC) over ongoing issues between the two companies, in particular the amount of tax Apple requires Spotify and other apps to pay on purchases through the store. Spotify claimed that this 30% tax affects other players' ability to stay competitive with Apple's own products.
"In recent years, Apple has introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience – essentially acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers," Spotify CEO Daniel Ek stated. "After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, we're now requesting that the EC take action to ensure fair competition."
However, Apple has countered the accusations, asserting that Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app, but without being free.
"After using the App Store for years to dramatically grow their business, Spotify seeks to keep all the benefits of the App Store ecosystem – including the substantial revenue that it draws from the App Store's customers – without making any contributions to that marketplace," wrote Apple in a blogpost which addressed Spotify's claims. "At the same time, it distributes the music you love while making ever-smaller contributions to the artists, musicians and songwriters who create it – even going so far as to take these creators to court."
Apple also noted that Spotify's issue with the way it taxes apps is part of a "misleading rhetoric", explaining that 84% of the apps in the App Store pay the company nothing when users download the app.
"Spotify wouldn't be the business it is today without the App Store ecosystem, but now its leveraging their scale to avoid contributing to maintaining that ecosystem for the next generation of app entrepreneurs," stated Apple. "We think that's wrong."