Spotify files antitrust complaint to Brussels against Apple
16 March, 2019, 01:16
Invisible to the customer is the fee apple takes when purchasing in the app store or a subscription within an app.
"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.
Spotify has filed a complaint with European regulators over Apple's "unfair" app store practices, including the 30% commission that Apple pockets with every app purchase.
It's not the first time Apple has faced criticism over how it manages the App Store, and the demands it places on developers producing apps for iOS devices like iPhone and iPad. Spotify had 96 million paying subscribers at the last count in February, while Apple Music reportedly had 56 million subscribers at the end of 2018.
Spotify also contends that Apple gives its own services an unfair advantage by allowing them to violate rules third-party services must abide by, like sending push notifications offering savings, or preventing the use of iOS APIs to recommend podcasts.
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.
Spotify has formally asked Brussels to crack down on Apple's app store, alleging that the iPhone maker is "tilting the playing field to disadvantage competitors".
The Spotify app is free to download and users need to spend Rs 119 a month to upgrade to Spotify Premium.
On its website about the issue, Spotify said Apple only imposes the 30 percent fee on some apps.
Ek says that because Spotify is forced to pay the "Apple Tax", it has to raise its price in the App Store above that of Apple Music. While Spotify is available for free via Apple, upgrading to its Premium tier service can now only be done via the internet.
Ek noted that apps like Uber aren't subject to the "Apple tax", and that Spotify isn't looking for special treatment, just equal treatment. A report published by Variety tells the story of Spotify accusing Apple of unfairly limiting choice and competition in the Europe marketplace.
Ek says the company had tried - and failed - to resolve these issues with Apple before filing a complaint to the EC. We want the same fair rules for companies young and old, large and small.
We've reached out to both companies and will update if we hear back.
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