Spotify Files European Complaint, Saying Apple Has “Unfair Advantage”

Music streaming service Spotify has filed a complaint with the European Commission, saying that Apple has an unfair advantage that ‘stifles competition’ in the sector.

In a blog post, Founder and CEO of the company, Daniel Ek, said that “My goal for Spotify is and has always been to reimagine the audio experience by giving consumers the best creativity and innovation we have to offer.

“For that to be a reality, it is my firm belief that companies like ours must operate in an ecosystem in which fair competition is not only encouraged, but guaranteed.

“It’s why, after careful consideration, Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission (EC), the regulatory body responsible for keeping competition fair and nondiscriminatory.

“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.

“After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, we’re now requesting that the EC take action to ensure fair competition.”


30% subscription cut

Spotify argues that Apple’s 30% cut on subscription revenue hurts subscription-based businesses such as Spotify and that it’s particularly unfair because Apple operates in the same sector with Apple Music.

The company says Apple is giving itself “unfair advantage at every turn” and argues that, because apps like Uber and Deliveroo aren’t required to use Apple’s payment system, they don’t have to give Apple 30% of their revenue and can, therefore, deliver better returns to their shareholders and pass savings onto consumers.

App Store rules dictate that all digital purchases must be conducted through the App Store with an Apple ID credit card, or via Apple Pay. Physical purchases, on the other hand, don’t have such limitations.


Time to Play Fair

The company has set up a new website, called Time to Play Fair, asking Apple to level the playing field and that its “anti-competitive behavior” must be challenged.

Apple Music overtook Spotify as the most popular music streaming platform in the United States last year, and later this month will launch a TV and movie streaming service to rival Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Earlier this year, Netflix removed the ability to sign up/subscribe to the service on iOS, in an effort to bypass the App Store’s 30% revenue cut.


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