Tech

Spotify Hits Apple With EU Antitrust Complaint

Spotify Hits Apple With EU Antitrust Complaint

There's a lengthy list of things Spotify claims Apple has done to try to stymie its attempts to promote itself and its new services on iOS, some of which seem more onerous than others.

"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", Daniel Ek, Spotify founder and CEO, wrote of the complaint. This fee is largely responsible for Apple's $10 billion in services revenue per quarter, with relatively small amounts from licenses (default search engines etc.), subscriptions such as Apple Music, and Apple Pay and Apple Care for the remaining. Spotify and Apple have previously clashed over the latter's failure to approve an app update to the former. He emphasized that Apple requires Spotify and other digital services to pay a 30 percent tax on purchases made through Apple's payment system. A growing number of software companies, including Netflix and the developers behind the popular video game Fortnite, are aiming to bypass app stores altogether, or minimize Apple's involvement in payments.

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. Ek says that if the company doesn't comply with Apple's tax, it faces "a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions", on its app. Ek added that Apple "routinely blocks our experience-enhancing upgrades", locking competitors out of Apple devices such as Siri, Apple Watch and Homepod.

"If we pay this tax, it would force us to artificially inflate the price of our Premium membership well above the price of Apple Music", Ek argues.

The main problem here is that Apple not just operates the App Store, but also the competitor to Spotify in the form of Apple Music.

More news: Son’s ‘sad’ tweet boosts business for dad’s new doughnut shop

Spotify wants Europe's competition watchdog to examine Apple for the way it runs the App Store.

Spotify owns the world's most popular music-streaming subscription service, which competes with Apple Music, Google Play Music, Amazon Music and others.

The restrictions, according to Ek, limit Spotify's communication, disallowing the music streaming platform to send emails to its customers who use Apple in some cases.

Apple hasn't as of the time of this writing responded to requests for comments about Spotify's action, while a spokesperson for the European Commission told The Wall Street Journal that Spotify's complaint has been received and is being reviewed.

App Stores should not be allowed to control the communications between services and users. It's not something we ever have-or will-shy away from. It is about supporting and nurturing the healthy ecosystem that made our two companies successful in the first place.


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