Apple faces Spotify antitrust complaint

Galtero Lara
Marcha 16, 2019

Spotify isn't just trying to sway the European Commission but the public as well, as outlined by its video above.

However, Ek said he has now been forced to officially lodge a complaint with the European commission after Apple introduced what he claimed were wider anti-competitive practices that has made it "both player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers". Before it stopped selling Premium subscriptions through the App Store in 2016, it had one of the highest-grossing apps in the US and around the world.

Spotify's escalating conflict with Apple has highlighted growing criticism over the way Apple and Google control customer access to digital services.

The European Commission considers all complaints on their merits and there are no timelines for officials to respond or requirement they launch a formal investigation.

"As an alternative, if we choose not to use Apple's payment system, forgoing the charge, Apple then applies a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions on Spotify", he said. In other words, anytime a user wants to upgrade their Spotify membership from Free to Premium, the music streaming service will have to pay a 30% tax. "And to keep our price competitive for our customers, that isn't something we can do".

Spotify files antitrust complaint to Brussels against Apple
Apple's 30% app store commission unfair, Spotify claims

Spotify's claims, while Europe-based, come just days after US presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren said she would move to break up Apple for reasons that resonate with Spotify's complaint. In the US, Spotify covers these costs by charging people $12.99 per month for subscriptions completed via the App Store; it's $9.99 if you subscribe directly via Spotify's website and then sign in via the iOS app. The most prominent example is Apple's standoff with Amazon over Kindle e-books, which it wanted a cut of. Come 2014, Spotify adopted IAP, but had to raise its prices to subscribers using that.

Apple now charges any third-party app developer a 30% commission on all sales made through the App Store - including music streaming subscriptions.

Apple, valued at $855 billion, makes most of its...

Spotify wants the same treatment as other App Store apps like Uber and Deliveroo, "who aren't subject to the Apple tax and don't have the same problems". These apart, EK said Apple also limits updates that would have made for a better user experience, which again puts Spotify in poorer light compared to Apple's own music streaming service. This antitrust complaint, though, is certainly the furthest Spotify has gone in targeting the Cupertino firm.

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