Spotify files European Union antitrust complaint against Apple

Spotify files antitrust complaint to Brussels against Apple

Apple controls what's allowed into its app store and how those programs can interact with its users, but it also competes with streaming music providers directly via Apple Music. Before it stopped selling Premium subscriptions through the App Store in 2016, it had one of the highest-grossing apps in the USA and around the world. In other words, anytime a user wants to upgrade their Spotify membership from Free to Premium, the music streaming service will have to pay a 30% tax.

Spotify is one of the many giant technology companies to speak out against Apple but according to TechCrunch is the first to file a formal complaint over how Apple treats its developers.

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.

Elk said Spotify can choose not to use Apple's payment system, avoiding the 30% fee, but that would limit functions on the app like mass emails to users.

Spotify's complaint apart, there also seems to be a consensus building in the USA about the growing clout that several companies has begun to exercise on the masses or the market.

But the obvious question is why Spotify isn't also going after Google, which also charges a levy for apps on its app store and has a music-streaming service. A report published by Variety tells the story of Spotify accusing Apple of unfairly limiting choice and competition in the Europe marketplace.

Spotify files antitrust complaint to Brussels against Apple

Ek said he is asking the European Commission to take action only after he tried unsuccessfully to resolve the matter with Apple directly.

Spotify, for example, asks people to pay for its premium subscription through its website rather than through iTunes.

Spotify wants the same treatment as other App Store apps like Uber and Deliveroo, "who aren't subject to the Apple tax and don't have the same problems".

"We aren't seeking special treatment", he said in a blog post.

Spotify's beef with Apple centers on a 30% tax it and other digital services have to pay whenever they use Apple's "in-app" payment system to process user purchases such as upgrading subscriptions. Ek believes "we should all be subject to the same fair set of rules and restrictions" - including Apple Music.

Consumers should have a real choice of payment systems and not be locked down or forced to use Apple's discriminatory tariffs. That's what competition on the merits is all about.

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