Founder and CEO of Spotify Daniel Ek has spoken out in a blog post about Apple's rules on the App Store that "purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience".
Apple's power as a platform hasn't yet triggered antitrust concerns in Europe, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told reporters in Austin, Texas, on March 10, before Spotify's complaint became public. 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.
"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".
Spotify argues that it has to raise prices, making it more expensive than Apple's own streaming service, Apple Music.
Spotify today announced that it is filing a complaint with the European Commission against Apple. If users upgrade to a paid Spotify subscription, Ek explains, and do so through Apple's payment system such as with an in-app purchase, Apple takes 30-percent of that. A spokesperson for the European Commission which handles antitrust complaints confirmed that they had received Spotify's complaint, "which we are assessing under our standard procedures".
Additionally, Ek highlighted rules by Apple that "give themselves an unfair advantage at every turn".
The reasons why include Apple's "app tax", the 30 percent cut that Apple takes when developers sell their wares in the company's App Store. 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.
Of course, Spotify is not the only one who has been burned by Apple's practices.
The second issue is a 30 per cent fee introduced in 2011 that applied to Spotify and all other digital content providers for using the Apple payment system, while other apps such as Uber and Deliveroo are not subject to the fee.
The primary complaint from Spotify (NYSE:SPOT) is that this fee created an incentive for consumers to choose Apple Music based on convenience. He adds that all App Store users should have a choice of payment systems, and not be locked into using Apple's platform.
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