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Spotify's chief legal officer says Apple is a 'ruthless bully' over its App Store dealings

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Spotify app (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Spotify's chief legal officer has been talking to anyone who will listen, this time The Verge.
  • A lengthy interview saw Horacio Gutierrez point out the ridiculousness of Apple claiming it didn't know how profitable the App Store is.

Horacio Gutierrez, head of global affairs and chief legal officer of Spotify, isn't happy with Apple. Not one bit. He's been talking with The Verge and anyone else who will listen, going o record as saying that Apple is a "ruthless bully" in the way it deals with others.

Citing the Epic Games trial, Gutierrez said that the treasure trove of internal communications made available was particularly interesting. But just as interesting was what we didn't learn, saying that Apple's stance that the App Store – and its users – needs to be protected is notable because it doesn't enforce its own rules consistently.

There's a lot of very interesting internal communications that really reveal the way Apple executives were thinking about the App Store, and the imposition of Apple's payment system, and their intent to lock in users and things like that. So obviously in that sense, the trial has been very revealing.The other thing is, it's remarkable how little we learned about Apple's explanation for these things. They continue to go back to the same pretextual explanations for why they do what they do. They continue to say, "Well, we have to protect the privacy and security of our users and that's why we have to charge 30 percent and have all these other restrictions." But how can it be indispensable for them to do all those things in order to protect privacy and security when they don't even apply those rules to a number of other apps that are on the App Store?

Gutierrez also brought up the fact Apple seemed unable to answer questions about how profitable the App Store is. The idea that the company doesn't have that data "defies credulity for Apple."

When asked whether Spotify would accept a proposal that saw third-party payment processing made available to music streaming apps but not games, Gutierrez said that yes, it would be a move the company would pursue. But not for its own gains, you understand. Oh no. Because it helps continue the conversation.

Would I hold out the solution to the problem in wanting to stream until the problem for all industries were solved? It's a hypothetical, but I would tell you, I [would] take the win. But it doesn't mean the discussion is over.

I bet he would. You can read more gems over in the original article on The Verge.

Ignoring Spotify for a moment, Apple Music's new lossless audio goes live this month. Check out our collection of the best wired headphones for Apple Musisc and make sure you're good to go ahead of time.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

2 Comments
  • 'When asked whether Spotify would accept a proposal that saw third-party payment processing made available to music streaming apps'...
    They already do that. Open Safari, go to Spotify and sign up. You can start and pay for premium service right there and Apple gets nothing. Same for YouTube Music. Note, if you sign up for YouTube Premium from within YouTube it costs you 30% more than if you sign up in Safari. That's how Google recoups the 30% 'in-app' fee.
  • The Big Three music labels all take a stake in Spotify to put the squeeze on artists and they claim Apple Music is the bully? Why? Artists get more streaming rev's from Apple than they do from Spotify. I guess they don't like the market being opened up like that.