Spotify files complaint against Apple over 'unfair' App Store rules

Spotify drops antitrust bomb on the “Apple tax”

The Spotify CEO said that ignoring Apple's payment system could cause serious damages to their communication with customers.

Swedish music streaming giant Spotify said on Wednesday it had filed a formal complaint with the EU Commission against Apple, accusing its United States rival of stifling competition in the online music market.

Spotify has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple, complaining to the European Commission about the "Apple tax" and unfair behaviors by the Cupertino company.

The company takes issue with how Apple acts as a gatekeeper to the internet by controlling important platforms such as its iOS mobile operating system and the App Store, while also competing against services like Spotify with its Apple Music service.

Apple's app store is an important distribution platform for Spotify.

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 said it refused to pay the fee because it would have made its premium streaming service more expensive than Apple Music.

Spotify files antitrust complaint to Brussels against Apple
Spotify files EU complaint against Apple's 'anticompetitive' App Store rules

He complained that Apple "routinely" blocks Spotify's upgrades and being locked out of services including Siri and Apple Watch. ".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 writes. As a Swedish company, Spotify is calling on the European Commission to "ensure a level playing field". This includes the upgrades to Spotify's Premium service. 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. "And to keep our price competitive for our customers, that isn't something we can do".

Of course, Spotify is not the only one who has been burned by Apple's practices.

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.

"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", he said.

The complaint was prompted by "an accumulation of increasing restrictions that we believe are extreme", he said.

In addition to taking issue with those rules, Spotify alleges it has been the subject of unfair treatment. He also wants customers to have "a real choice of payment systems".

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