Spotify lodges EU complaint against Apple over unfair music competition

March 13, 2019
Spotify is taking its grievance against Apple to the EU

Swedish music streaming giant Spotify said Wednesday it had filed a complaint with the EU Commission against Apple, accusing its US rival of stifling competition in the online music market.

"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 founder and CEO Daniel Ek said in a statement.

Ek said Spotify had tried unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, and was now asking the Commission to "take action to ensure fair competition".

Spotify, launched in Sweden just over a decade ago, claims 207 million users in the world, of whom 96 million are paying subscribers.

Ek said Apple's platform was "the gateway to the internet" for over a billion people, 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," he said.

Apple requires Spotify and other to pay a 30 percent tax on purchases made through Apple's systems, Ek said, which Spotify declined to do to avoid inflating the price of its premium membership to well above that of Apple Music.

"As an alternative, if we choose not to use Apple's payment system, forgoing the charge, Apple then applies a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions on Spotify," he said. "For example, they limit our communication with our customers—including our outreach beyond the app."

Spotify wasn't looking for special treatment, but "we should all be subject to the same fair set of rules and restrictions—including Apple Music", Ek said.

Explore further: Spotify's music service seeks to drum up $1 billion in IPO

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