Spotify announced Wednesday that it has filed an anti-trust complaint against Apple with the European Commission. The complaint is centered on the 30% that Apple charges for in app purchase and polices that Spotify CEO Daniel Ek says,"deliberately disadvantage other app developers."
"In recent years, Apple has 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"
- Spotify CEO Daniel Ek
In a blog post Wednesday, Spotify's CEO explained the streamer's decision to file an action against Apple with the European anti-trust agency: "After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, we’re now requesting that the EC take action to ensure fair competition. Apple operates a platform that, for over a billion people around the world, is the gateway to the internet. 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."
As an example, Ek cited Apple's 30% app store "tax."Apple requires that Spotify and other digital services pay a 30% tax on purchases made through Apple’s payment system, including upgrading from our Free to our Premium service. 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."
After Spotify bypassed Apple’s payment system to avoid the 30%, the streamer alleges that Apple punished them with technical and experience-limiting restrictions. "They limit our communication with our customers - including our outreach beyond the app," said Ek. "In some cases, we aren’t even allowed to send emails to our customers who use Apple. 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."
Asked if Spotify would be taking a similar action against Apple in the US, a spokesperson said the streamer was focused on this action for now. EU regulators have been more aggressive about ending anti-competitive practices than those in the U.S.