Apple Faces Spotify Antitrust Complaint to EU Over App Store
Apple should be probed by the EU’s antitrust agency over how it allegedly squeezes rival music streaming services, Spotify said, according to Bloomberg. This escalates a debate over how Apple takes a cut of sales on its App Store.
The iPhone maker has created an “untenable” situation by imposing ever-changing rules and a 30 percent tax for apps that compete with Apple Music, Spotify said in a statement. The Stockholm-based company said it filed a complaint about this with the European Commission on March 11.
“Once Apple became a platform provider, but also a direct competitor, their incentive to disadvantage rival services, like Spotify, became even greater and their restrictions started to become more frequent and extreme,” Horacio Gutierrez, Spotify’s general counsel, told journalists in a briefing in Brussels on Wednesday.
The antitrust complaint adds to a growing backlash against the tolls Apple and Google charge outside developers for using their app stores. EU regulators are also increasingly concerned about how technology platforms control the online ecosystem and may rig the game to their own advantage. Amazon’s potential use of data on rival sellers is being investigated by the EU to check if the retailer uses that edge to start selling similar products itself.
Spotify said it was forced to “artificially” increase monthly subscriptions for its premium service via the Apple App Store. Apple Music costs 9.99 euros a month, the price Spotify charges for direct subscriptions to its own website and used to charge on the App Store before Apple imposed its own payment system and extra levy. While Spotify is available for free via Apple, upgrading to its Premium tier service can now only be done via the internet. The EU regulator confirmed it received the complaint, which it is now assessing.