US lawmakers have requested information from Apple critic Spotify as part of an antitrust probe, according to two sources briefed on the investigation into allegations the iPhone maker engages in anti-competitive behavior to support its own apps.
The US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee reached out to the music streaming service with broad requests for information, according to one source, who added the request to the company was narrowed in follow up telephone calls.
Spotify Technology SA filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in the European Union in March, but the contact with the committee marks its first known participation in congressional inquiries into the iPhone maker, whose Apple Music streaming service is Spotify’s biggest rival. Spotify and other developers have alleged that Apple engages in anticompetitive behavior by imposing rules that hamper distribution via its App Store, the only way for third-party developers to reach more than 900 million iPhone users.
At the same time, Apple sometimes copies the features of their apps for its own offerings, developers have said. Multiple apps in the App Store offered female cycle tracking before Apple added the same feature to its own health tracking app this fall, for example.
Apple has said it acts in the best interests of its users and treats all developers equally. It has denied Spotify’s claims and says its streaming music rival is seeking to pay it nothing and play by a different set of rules than the millions of other apps on its App Store.
Spotify has been pressing for antitrust action against Apple for several years.
Its representatives have met with Justice Department officials, as well as members of the FTC’s Technology Task Force, a group of some 17 attorneys that was set up in February to focus on online platforms and other Internet competition issues, according to one source.
App developers also complain that Apple’s Siri, which responds to verbal commands and can control Apple’s own apps, has long had limited functionality with the vast majority of non-Apple apps, including Spotify.
Apple announced an update to its software in June that would allow Siri to access Spotify and other music services. Beyond Spotify, the congressional probe has tapped many companies for details on the four big tech firms.