At the “Antitrust Applied: Examining Competition in App Stores” hearing that took place yesterday, music streaming service Spotify and Tinder-maker Match Group said Apple is abusing its market power to disadvantage its rivals.
“Apple abuses its dominant position as a gatekeeper of the App Store to insulate itself from competition and disadvantage rival services like Spotify,” said Horacio Gutierrez, Spotify’s Chief Legal Officer. He added that Apple’s restrictions on developers “are nothing more than an abusive power grab and a confiscation of the value created by others.”
Spotify’s fight with Apple first started when the iPhone maker launched its own music service. While Apple Music costs $9.99/per month, Spotify is not able to offer its service at this price as the App Store cuts 30% for in-app purchases. The music streaming company said during the hearing that it has no other options but to charge iOS users more, since Apple doesn’t allow alternative signup or payment options.
In the meantime, Tinder-maker Match Group complained that it requested to add ID verification rules to improve its app’s safety in Taiwan, however Apple doesn’t allow it. The company contacted an Apple executive who allegedly said “You owe us every dime you’ve made“.
Apple’s Chief Compliance Officer Kyle Andeer appeared at the hearing to defend the iPhone-maker. Andeer said that strict App Store rules are meant to meet privacy, safety and performance standards.
Apple has also been in a fight with Epic Games since the game developer’s popular title Fortnite was removed from the App Store (also from the Play Store) last year after Epic rolled out its own payment service that bypassed the 30% fee.
Epic Games Chief Executive Tim Sweeney and Apple’s App Store chief Phil Schiller will attend an antitrust trial starting May 3 in Oakland, California. U.S. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said on Wednesday that no cameras would be allowed during the trial.