Spotify Files Antitrust Complaint over Apples App Store Charges


The music-streaming service is particularly irked by the 30 percent cut Apple takes from Spotify Premium subscriptions that customers complete through the App Store.

Music-streaming service Spotify has filed a formal complaint against Apple this week, claiming that the iPhone maker has violated European Union competition rules by using numerous tactics to try and ice out competitors.

Spotify isn't just trying to sway the European Commission but the public as well, as outlined by its video above.

Apple controls what's allowed into its app store and how those programs can interact with its users, but it also competes with streaming music providers directly via Apple Music.

Voice recognition system Siri would not hook iPhone users up to Spotify and Apple declined to let Spotify launch an app on its Apple Watch, Spotify said. Before it stopped selling Premium subscriptions through the App Store in 2016, it had one of the highest-grossing apps in the US and around the world.

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"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 ..." This fee is largely responsible for Apple's $10 billion in services revenue per quarter, with relatively small amounts from licenses (default search engines etc.), subscriptions such as Apple Music, and Apple Pay and Apple Care for the remaining.

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. "But in Apple's case, they continue to give themselves an unfair advantage at every turn", he said.

Spotify's claims, while Europe-based, come just days after US presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren said she would move to break up Apple for reasons that resonate with Spotify's complaint. The most prominent example is Apple's standoff with Amazon over Kindle e-books, which it wanted a cut of.

"We've consistently worked hard to play by the rules, even though we can never be sure when they will change, or how", said Gutierrez. Apple in 2011 started imposing the 30 percent fee and its own billing system, Spotify said, adding that it was at the same time blocked from showing customers other ways to pay or how to upgrade from its free to its Premium service. It also wants consumers to have a "real choice" of payment systems and not be locked in to using "discriminatory tariffs such as Apple's". "We should all be subject to the same fair set of rules and restrictions, including Apple Music".

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