Spotify files complaint against Apple over 'unfair' App Store rules

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek

While Spotify is available for free via Apple, upgrading to its Premium tier service can now only be done via the internet.

He urged the European Commission to open an antitrust probe into Apple, citing rules which favour Spotify-rival Apply Music. The complaint centers on Apple's App Store, which Spotify CEO Daniel Elk said gives Apple's own applications and services-including Spotify competitor Apple Music-"an unfair advantage at every turn". Spotify had 96 million paying subscribers at the last count in February, while Apple Music reportedly had 56 million subscribers at the end of 2018. He mainly blames Apple's store policy. The App Store has also continued to change on Spotify, where they are not allowed to show users other ways to pay or upgrade to premium services or offer promotions. A growing number of software companies, including Netflix and the developers behind the popular video game Fortnite, are aiming to bypass app stores altogether, or minimize Apple's involvement in payments.

"We should all be subject to the same fair set of rules and restrictions-including Apple Music", he said.

"For example, they limit our communication with our customers - including our outreach beyond the app".

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"All of these actions by Apple make it untenable for us as a competitor, and for us as a player in the global competitive ecosystem, to stand by and not take action", said Mr Gutierrez. Ek adds that Apple also "routinely blocks our experience-enhancing upgrades". 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. When Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) launched its music service in the European Union, they were able to be both the platform holder as well as a competitor to Spotify.

Mashable has reached out to Apple for comment and we'll update this article when we hear from them.

Apple controls what's allowed into its app store and how those programs can interact with its users, but it also competes with streaming music providers directly via Apple Music. In the US, Spotify covers these costs by charging people $12.99 per month for subscriptions completed via the App Store; it's $9.99 if you subscribe directly via Spotify's website and then sign in via the iOS app. In some cases, we aren't even allowed to send emails to our customers who use Apple.

A spat between the companies that operate two of the biggest music streaming services in the world has landed at the doorstep of the European Union, which has been taking an increasingly tough stance lately against antitrust-related issues involving USA tech companies. We want the same fair rules for companies young and old, large and small. That's what competition on the merits is all about.

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