Spotify Files Anti-Competition Complaint Against Apple in Europe
Spotify has filed an official complaint against Apple in Europe, contending that Apple unfairly limits choice and competition through the rules of its app store.
Spotify founder Daniel Ek outlined the reasons for the complaint in a post on the company’s website Wednesday titled “Consumers and Innovators Win on a Level Playing Field.”
“My goal for Spotify is and has always been to re-imagine the audio experience by giving consumers the best creativity and innovation we have to offer,” Ek wrote. “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.”
As an example of Apple’s allegedly unfair practices, Ek cited the 30% tax that Spotify and other digital services must pay on purchases made through Apple’s payment system, including when Spotify users upgrade from Free to Premium packages. Ek said that that put Spotify in the untenable position of having to raise prices for its customers to remain competitive, which it refuses to do.
The complaint also alleges that Apple routinely blocks Spotify’s upgrades, shutting it out from Siri and other services, and that Apple imposes other restrictions that can make it hard for Spotify to communicate with its users through the app.
Variety has reached out to Apple for comment.
Ek insisted that Spotify was not “seeking special treatment” and that “this is not a Spotify-versus-Apple issue.” He said Spotifying was requesting that “the same fair set of rules and restrictions” be applied to everyone – including Apple’s own Apple Music – and that app store users be given a choice of payment systems.
“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,” he wrote.