Spotify Wages War on App Store Rules

Marco Green
March 16, 2019

Spotify's claims, while Europe-based, come just days after USA presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren said she would move to break up Apple for reasons that resonate with Spotify's complaint. This includes locking Spotify and other competitors out of Apple services such as Siri, HomePod, and Apple Watch. Spotify says Apple makes it very hard to avoid the fee, which makes some services more expensive.

Apple Music, which accepts sign-ups via iTunes and iOS, costs $9.99 per month. Then, Apple Music launched, but undercut Spotify Premium in price - something Spotify argues is only possible because Apple doesn't have to pay its own 30-percent revenue share.

Apple has been kicking music-streaming service Spotify around for years, and Spotify is fed up. But this is the first time someone has publicly filed a complaint over it to the European Commission.

The company takes issue with how Apple acts as a gatekeeper to the internet by controlling important platforms such as its iOS mobile operating system and the App Store, while also competing against services like Spotify with its Apple Music service.

A spokesperson for the European Commission confirmed to City A.M. it has received a complaint and will assess it under the standard procedure. In other words, anytime a user wants to upgrade their Spotify membership from Free to Premium, the music streaming service will have to pay a 30% tax.

Ek said he is asking the European Commission to take action only after he tried unsuccessfully to resolve the matter with Apple directly. In some cases, we aren't even allowed to send emails to our customers who use Apple.

Spotify is not the only company to object to the app store practices of Apple and Google, which operates Google Play. That would have earned Apple approximately $6.6 million. The company claims, among other things, that Apple has on multiple occasions blocked it from rolling out app updates without proper justification. Apple charges the fee to all subscription apps that bill via the App Store. And it's not the only major service provider to make this move. On March 25, the US company plans to unveil a new video streaming and magazine subscription services, Bloomberg News has reported.

The primary issues here are the 30 percent cut that Apple takes from nearly every transaction that goes through its system, and the alleged preferential treatment that Apple gives to its first-party streaming option (and direct competitor to Spotify), Apple Music.

Fortnite, the hit title from Epic Games, charges players $7.99 for 1,000 V-Bucks (its in-game currency) on console and PC.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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