Spotify accuses Apple of blocking app update to boost Apple Music

Have the new Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) App Store Review guidelines become a "weapon" to prevent developers from competing against Apple? Spotify seems to think so, as the streaming music service provider recently claimed Apple rejected the latest version of its app due to the fact that it would compete with Apple Music. 

Spotify General Counsel Horacio Gutierrez sent a letter to Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell last month, according to Recodearguing Apple is "causing grave harm to Spotify and its customers." 

"It continues a troubling pattern of behavior by Apple to exclude and diminish the competitiveness of Spotify on iOS and as a rival to Apple Music, particularly when seen against the backdrop of Apple's previous anticompetitive conduct aimed at Spotify … we cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors," Gutierrez wrote in the letter. 

However, Sewell responded with a letter of his own, pointing out the App Store Review guidelines "apply equally to all developers."

"We did not alter our behavior or our rules when we introduced our own music streaming service or when Spotify became a competitor," Sewell wrote. 

Regardless of whether Apple intentionally blocked Spotify's app update, the competition between Apple Music and Spotify remains intense.

A recent report from investment banking firm Cowen & Co. indicated Spotify dominates the streaming music market. It also showed Apple Music has a subscriber churn rate of 6.4 percent – nearly three times Spotify's subscriber churn rate.

Meanwhile, if Apple did block Spotify's app update due to competition, it wouldn't be the first time a company attempted to prevent a rival from extending its global reach. 

Of course, Android users likely won't have to worry about Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) blocking a Spotify app update.