Spotify files antitrust complaint to Brussels against Apple

Galtero Lara
Marcha 14, 2019

Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple with European Commission regulators, alleging the so-called "Apple tax" gives Apple an "unfair advantage" over rival companies. The executive says that all apps should be able to compete fairly, and Apple Music shouldn't get an advantage because Apple owns the App Store. Ek says that Apple does this through the "Apple Tax". He explained that the charge could push Spotify to inflate its prices above the cost for a subscription to Apple Music, Apple's music streaming service. However, if you choose to pay your subscription fee through Apple (an in-app payment), Spotify charges $12.99 a month for individuals, $16.99 a month for families and $7.99 a month for verified students.

Spotify ended support for Apple's in-app subscription payments system for its premium service in 2016. A representative for the European Commission confirmed it received a complaint from Spotify, saying the body is assessing it under its standard procedures.

Breitbart News will keep readers updated on this issue as the story develops.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Spotify no longer allows users to subscribe directly through iOS - and Apple's policies prevent the company from telling users how to subscribe through other portals.

Voice recognition system Siri would not hook iPhone users up to Spotify and Apple declined to let Spotify launch an app on its Apple Watch, Spotify said.

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"In recent years, Apple has introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience - essentially acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers", Spotify CEO Daniel Ek wrote in a statement. He adds that all App Store users should have a choice of payment systems, and not be locked into using Apple's platform.

The final complaint is increasingly restrictive conditions on how app makers can communicate with subscribers who sign up using the iPhone app. We simply want the same treatment as numerous other apps on the App Store, like Uber or Deliveroo, who aren't subject to the Apple tax and therefore don't have the same restrictions.

"We should all be subject to the same fair set of rules and restrictions-including Apple Music", he said.

In a blog post announcing the suit, Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek said the company had attempted in vain to settle the matter with Apple directly. We want the same fair rules for companies young and old, large and small. That's what competition on the merits is all about.

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