Apple, Spotify streaming music dispute heats up

Apple, Spotify streaming music dispute heats up
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A feud between Apple and Spotify is intensifying in the days after Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren: Trump is a 'racist bully' Poll: Oprah would outperform Warren, Harris against Trump in California Democrats continue to dismiss positive impacts of tax reform MORE (D-Mass.) thrust the issue back into the Washington spotlight with a major antitrust speech this week. 

Apple on Friday sent a letter to Spotify disputing allegations that the enforcement of its App Store rules is a violation of antitrust laws. The company said it was "disappointed" with Spotify's public attacks. 

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"Our guidelines help competition, not hurt it. The fact that we compete has never influenced how Apple treats Spotify or other successful competitors like Google Play Music, Tidal, Amazon Music, Pandora or the numerous other apps on the App Store that distribute digital music," Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell wrote in a letter

BuzzFeed first reported on the letter. 

Spotify has long complained that Apple is engaging in anti-competitive behavior, raising "serious concerns under both US and EU competition law."

Spotify accuses Apple of leveraging its App Store to harm Spotify and boost its own rival streaming service. 

Apple takes a cut of every in-app purchase and it bars app developers from redirecting customers outside the app to make purchases. 

The current dispute centers on promotions and announcements Spotify has tried to include in its app, which encourage users to buy its premium streaming service outside the app at a discounted price. The company complained in a letter sent late last month. 

Apple has rejected the promotions, saying the changes are clearly meant to "get around our guidelines." 

"Spotify's app was again rejected for attempting to circumvent in-app purchase rules, and not, as you claim, because Spotify was simply seeking to communicate with its customers," Sewell wrote.

The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly looking into Apple's conduct. And Warren, during a speech this week, highlighted Apple as an example of a company that could use its platform to snuff out competition. 

"While Apple Music is easily accessible on the iPhone, Apple has placed conditions on its rivals that make it difficult for them to offer competitive streaming services," Warren said. "The FTC is investigating those issues and deciding whether to sue Apple for antitrust violations."