Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Spotify files antitrust complaint to European Union against Apple

Spotify files antitrust complaint to European Union against Apple

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

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. Spotify contends that paying that "tax" when customers upgrade their iOS Spotify app from the free to the premium version of the service "would force us to artificially inflate the price of our Premium membership well above the price of Apple Music". A growing number of software companies, including Netflix and the developers behind the popular video game Fortnite, are aiming to bypass app stores altogether, or minimize Apple's involvement in payments. But, Spotify says, Apple won't allow it to advertise those cheaper subscriptions inside the iOS app.

Yet, he said, "if we choose not to use Apple's payment system, forgoing the charge, 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".

"After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, we're now requesting that the European Commission take action to ensure fair competition". "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", Ek said.

The main problem here is that Apple not just operates the App Store, but also the competitor to Spotify in the form of Apple Music.

Apple hasn't yet responded to the filing or the allegations.

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Spotify, which launched a year after the 2007 launch of the iPhone, said on Wednesday that Apple's control of its App store deprived consumers of choice and rival providers of audio streaming services to the benefit of Apple Music, which began in 2015.

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.

Ek specifically highlighted the 30 percent fee that Apple charges for app payments made through its system.

The final complaint is increasingly restrictive conditions on how app makers can communicate with subscribers who sign up using the iPhone app. But if it shuns Apple's payment system, Spotify alleges that Apple blocks app upgrades or stops it from working with Apple services like Siri assistant. Instead, the company is asking for fair set of rules that apple to everyone on the App Store, including Apple itself.

We've reached out to both companies and will update if we hear back.

On its website about the issue, Spotify said Apple only imposes the 30 percent fee on some apps. It is about supporting and nurturing the healthy ecosystem that made our two companies successful in the first place.

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