Spotify steps up music-streaming wars, filing antitrust complaint against Apple

Spotify says Apple Music has

Spotify files antitrust complaint to Brussels against Apple

The tax does not apply if people subscribe through a non-Apple device, such as on a desktop, and then use the service afterwards on an Apple device.

Swedish music streaming giant Spotify said on Wednesday it had filed a formal complaint with the EU Commission against Apple, accusing its U.S. rival of stifling competition in the online music market. For instance, the HomePod or Apple Watch is only compatible with Apple Music at the moment while Spotify is off bounds on both platforms. Before it stopped selling Premium subscriptions through the App Store in 2016, it had one of the highest-grossing apps in the USA and around the world.

Apple's 30% "tax" on all app store purchases forces developers to hike subscription prices - making Apple Music look a bit more shiny and delicious to consumers - or eat the loss. In Spotify's case, the company finds itself competing with Apple Music, the streaming service that comes preloaded on iPhone.

The complaint, which was entered by the Sweden-based steaming service on Monday, says USA software giant Apple deliberately stifles competition in the online music market to the benefit of its own streaming service, Apple Music.

How Apple handles that dual role of gatekeeper to iOS and also an app and services provider is part of Spotify's justification for its complaint to the European Commission (EC), according to the firm.

Spotify said it was forced to "artificially" increase monthly subscriptions for its premium service via the Apple App Store.

Some companies, like Netflix, have opted out of Apple's 30 percent tax. These apart, EK said Apple also limits updates that would have made for a better user experience, which again puts Spotify in poorer light compared to Apple's own music streaming service.

Of course, Spotify is not the only one who has been burned by Apple's practices. What the streaming music service wants, it claims, is to be free of the "Apple tax" in the same way that apps like Uber and Deliveroo are.

Spotify has filed a legal complaint against Apple for what it believes is anti-competitive behavior.

"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. Ek said, "After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, we're now requesting that the EC take action to ensure fair competition". Apple "should not be allowed to control the communications between services and users, including placing unfair restrictions on marketing and promotions that benefit consumers", Ek writes.

As I recently shared, competition pushes us to evolve and improve both the customer and creator experience.

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