Spotify complains to European officials that Apple is stifling competition

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek

The investment firm said such interference "holds no practical objective other than to force competitive services into higher cost structures and unfairly tax service activity on the iOS platform".

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek today has said that the company is going to file an antitrust complaint against Apple with the Europian Commission (EC) for putting its competitors at a disadvantage.

"Spotify is largely on the right side in both facts and principle, which creates risk that App Store policy terms will be forcibly changed in a way that negatively impacts Services revenue and Apple's brand", KeyBanc analyst Andy Hargreaves wrote in a note to clients.

He adds: "Apple requires that Spotify and other digital services pay a 30% tax on purchases made through Apple's payment system, including upgrading from our Free to our Premium service". Apple charges the fee to all subscription apps that bill via the App Store.

Additionally, the executive says that if it bypasses Apple's payment system, Apple will limit Spotify's communications with its subscribers.

He said that if Spotify chooses not to use Apple's payment system, to avoid paying the commission, the company applies "a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions" on consumers running its streaming service on the rival tech company's devices. He continued saying, "For example, they limit our communication with our customers-including our outreach beyond the app".

"All of these actions by Apple make it untenable for us as a competitor, and for us as a player in the global competitive ecosystem, to stand by and not take action", said Mr Gutierrez.

Ek said that Spotify is not asking for special treatment but would like Apple to treat it like other apps that are not subject to the 30 percent fee. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple Music costs 9.99 euros ($11.28) a month, the price Spotify charges for direct subscriptions to its own website and used to charge on the App Store before Apple imposed its own payment system and extra levy.

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.

Second, consumers should have a real choice of payment systems, and not be "locked in" or forced to use systems with discriminatory tariffs such as Apple's. Then there were other issues, where Apple would not allow Spotify to have an Apple Watch app or work with Siri. 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.

"Let me be clear that this is not a Spotify-versus-Apple issue".

Consumers win and our industry thrives when we're able to challenge each other on fair footing.



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