Sen. Elizabeth Warren can welcome an unlikely new passenger to her anti-monopoly starship: Spotify. The music-streaming service shared that it filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Commission on Wednesday, claiming that the App Store gives Apple an unfair advantage over its competition--in this case because it takes a 30 percent cut of any Spotify subscription that users pay for through Apple. One of Spotify's main competitors is Apple Music, which doesn't have to pay such a toll to the company that owns it. But Spotify is reliant on Apple's App Store, since millions of its users access the Spotify app on iPhones. Apple's fee for in-app purchases, according to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, "would force us to artificially inflate the price of our Premium membership well above the price of Apple Music. And to keep our price competitive for our customers, that isn't something we can do."
Apple is bracing itself for a formal antitrust investigation by Brussels after the iPhone maker was accused by the music streaming service Spotify of anti-competitive behaviour. Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner for competition, is said to be poised to launch an inquiry over claims that one of the world's most valuable companies has behaved unlawfully by abusing the dominant position of its of its app store in the market. Spotify, which has reached 100 million paying subscribers, alleges that Apple, one of its fiercest rivals alongside Amazon, is using the store to favour its own Apple Music service. Apple charges digital content providers such as Spotify a 30% fee for using its payment system for any subscriptions sold in its App Store. The Financial Times reported on Monday that the European commission had decided there were grounds for a formal investigation, following a complaint filed by Spotify in March, and that an announcement could be expected within weeks.
So many streaming services and so little time to find the one that suits you best. What's a music lover to do? Talking Tech has you covered. Spotify claims Apple isn't playing fair and is harming consumers. And the Swedish music streaming service is taking its complaint to European Commission antitrust regulators. CEO and founder Daniel Ek alleged that Apple, which with its own Apple Music streaming service competes directly against Spotify, "introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience – essentially acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers."
"After careful consideration," wrote Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, "Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission." The Swedish streaming company believes that it is the victim of discriminatory practices by the iPhone maker, regarding its app store. After what it describes as years of poor treatment, the company is going to regulators to ask, or force, Apple to "play fair." Spotify hasn't published what it sent to the EC, but Ek's blog outlines the company's grievances. Ek believes that Apple has, essentially, made life as hard on Spotify as it can, with regards to the Spotify app on the App Store.
Apple has hit back against Spotify after the latter filed a complaint against the iPad and iPhone maker with the EC, alleging that Apple's App Store is anti-competitive and limits customer choice. Earlier this week, Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek revealed the complaint, filed with the European Commission (EC), which is based on the premise that new rules introduced by Apple impact the App Store and have caused the platform to "purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience." Ek claimed that Apple's App Store now acts as a means to "deliberately disadvantage other app developers" in order to benefit Apple itself. "Apple operates a platform that, for over a billion people around the world, is the gateway to the Internet," the CEO said. "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."