Spotify filed a complaint with the European Commission (EC) against Apple, stating its App Store rules further the agenda of its own music streaming service and puts other developers on the back foot.
Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify, explained in a blog post: “Apple is both the owner of the iOS platform and the App Store, and a competitor to services like Spotify. In theory, this is fine. But in Apple’s case, they continue to give themselves an unfair advantage at every turn”.
Ek cited the 30 per cent commission developers must pay for all purchases made via the App Store as an example, noting this impacts their revenue.
Spotify opted-out of Apple’s payment system in 2016 (a move also made by Netflix late in 2018) following which it said it has been hit with “a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions” including difficulty communicating with users.
“Apple also routinely blocks our experience-enhancing upgrades. Over time, this has included locking Spotify and other competitors out of Apple services such as Siri, HomePod, and Apple Watch,” he complained.
Level playing field
Ek said Spotify wants the same treatment as other apps on the App Store: Uber and Deliveroo, for example, aren’t subject to the “Apple tax”.
He also wants consumers to have “a real choice of payment systems, and not be locked-in or forced to use systems with discriminatory tariffs such as Apple’s”.
The official complaint follows a letter written in 2018 by executives from European online players including Spotify and Deezer, calling for the European Union to toughen-up laws intended to address alleged unfair business practices of US giants including Apple and Google.
“After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, we’re now requesting that the EC take action to ensure fair competition”, Ek stated.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back