Spotify files EU antitrust complaint against Apple
Mar 16 2019
Apple requires Spotify and other digital services to pay a 30% tax on purchases made through Apple's payment system, including upgrading from a free to premium subscription.
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. The executive says that all apps should be able to compete fairly, and Apple Music shouldn't get an advantage because Apple owns the App Store.
Apple Music overtook Spotify as the most popular music streaming platform in the United States previous year, and later this month will launch a TV and movie streaming service to rival Netflix and Amazon Prime. He reckons the Apple-licensed "App Store" should remain objectively unbiased with the market place should remain inconquerable.
The music streaming provider further argues that developers that choose not to use the IAP system also end up taking a hit from an additional set of restrictions imposed on them by Apple.
He said Spotify is asking for three commitments: Services in the App Store, including Apple Music, should be subject to the same rules; consumers should have choice over which payment systems to use for the apps; and app stores should be blocked from controlling communications between services and their customers.
Spotify made an announcement in its newsroom, revealing that the company has filed an antitrust complaint against the Cupertino tech giant with the European Commission. "But in Apple's case, they continue to give themselves an unfair advantage at every turn", he said.
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.
Some companies, like Netflix, have opted out of Apple's 30 percent tax.
The problem boils down to the fact that Apple won't allow Spotify to advertise that subscriptions are cheaper through its website, not the app. Some apps, like Uber or Deliveroo, aren't subject to the Apple fee, according to Elk.
The complaint was prompted by "an accumulation of increasing restrictions that we believe are extreme", he said.
Ek says the company had tried - and failed - to resolve these issues with Apple before filing a complaint to the EC.
Consumers should have a real choice of payment systems, and not be "locked in" to one particular service.
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