Spotify Files Antitrust Complaint over Apples App Store Charges

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek

Daniel Ek has been CEO of Spotify since he co-founded it in 2006. Spotify

There's a lengthy list of things Spotify claims Apple has done to try to stymie its attempts to promote itself and its new services on iOS, some of which seem more onerous than others.

Spotify has complained that the App Store's 30% tax on in-app subscriptions makes it less competitive than Apple's own streaming service, Apple Music.

Under App store rules, Spotify said, content-based apps could not include buttons or external links to pages with production information, discounts or promotions and faced difficulties fixing bugs.

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.

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

From there, Ek goes on to lament that if the company decides that situation is too onerous and doesn't want to use Apple's payment system as a way of getting around this, "Apple then applies a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions on Spotify".

"For example, they limit our communication with our customers - including our outreach beyond the app".

Ek said, "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".

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Apple had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

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 fired a broadside at Apple today as it reported its rival to the European Union competition authorities over the way that the tech giant's App Store works. The first is a requirement introduced in 2011 that all iPhone app makers exclusively use Apple's payment system.

We aren't even allowed to tell you something as simple as how and where to upgrade to premium via the app. Apple uses compliance with their restrictions as a pretext to block our app updates - whether they are bug fixes or enhancements, making it challenging, and in some cases impossible, to bring you our latest and greatest innovations. He reckons the Apple-licensed "App Store" should remain objectively unbiased with the market place should remain inconquerable.

A spat between the companies that operate two of the biggest music streaming services in the world has landed at the doorstep of the European Union, which has been taking an increasingly tough stance lately against antitrust-related issues involving U.S. tech companies.

Spotify has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with Europe's competition watchdog, arguing that the way it runs the App Store is anticompetitive.

As I recently shared, competition pushes us to evolve and improve both the customer and creator experience.

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