Spotify lodges antitrust complaint against Apple

14 March, 2019, 14:13 | Author: Patty Hardy
  • Spotify CEO Daniel Ek

"This is not about Spotify picking a fight with Apple, but we feel like we had no other choice", he Gutierrez added.

Spotify has filed a complaint with European Union antitrust regulators against Apple, saying the iPhone maker unfairly limits rivals to its own Apple Music streaming service.

Spotify and Apple Music are the two major players in the streaming music market: While Spotify's global paid subscriber total of 96 million is almost double Apple Music's 50 million, it was reported last summer that Apple Music has more United States subscribers. "Apple, you've got to break it apart from their App Store".

Revenue generated by premium users who paid for the ad-free tier of Spotify through the app store, according to Ek, was subsidising Apple with 30 per cent of that fee.

Invisible to the customer is the fee apple takes when purchasing in the app store or a subscription within an app. But, Spotify says, Apple won't allow it to advertise those cheaper subscriptions inside the iOS app.

If Spotify was to ditch Apple's payment system, Ek continues, "Apple then applies a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions on Spotify". He continued saying, "For example, they limit our communication with our customers-including our outreach beyond the app".

The iPhone maker has created an "untenable" situation by imposing ever-changing rules and a 30 percent tax for apps that compete with Apple Music, Spotify said in a statement on Wednesday.

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"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. Then there were other issues, where Apple would not allow Spotify to have an Apple Watch app or work with Siri. This central tension gives Tim Cook's behemoth what Ek calls "an unfair advantage at every turn"-whether by disallowing apps from promoting discounts, or by imposing the so-called "Apple tax".

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.

Apple has been contacted for comment. Through their app stores, the two tech giants have for years acted as gatekeepers to iPhone and Android users, dictating how many people shop for apps and pay for their services.

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 United States tech companies.

As I recently shared, competition pushes us to evolve and improve both the customer and creator experience. We want the same fair rules for companies young and old, large and small.

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

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