Spotify accuses Apple of stifling competition with 'unfair' 30% app tax

Spotify has submitted a formal complaint against Apple to the European Commission, claiming the iPhone maker “deliberately disadvantages” other app developers.

In a blog post, Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek said Apple has introduced rules which “purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience”.

Apple, which has its own rival streaming service, takes a 30% cut of purchases on its app store – including upgrades from Spotify’s free to premium service.

Mr Ek said the fee forces Spotify to either artificially inflate the price of its premium service for customers – pushing it above the price of an Apple Music subscription – or to submit to “technical and experience-limiting restrictions” on the app.

He added that in some cases, Spotify was not able to send emails to Apple customers.

Image: Apple introduced is own music streaming service in 2009. File pic

The charge can be avoided if users subscribe to Spotify a non-Apple device – such as a desktop – and then continue to use the service afterwards on their Apple device.

It applies to some digital services, but not apps such as Deliveroo and Uber.

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Spotify says it wants to ensure a “level playing field” and receive the “same treatment” as other apps and services.

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Image: Other apps such as Deliveroo and Uber are not affected by the tax. File pic

Mr Ek said his company tried to resolve the issue with Apple directly, but had to resort to sending a complaint to the regulatory body responsible for keeping competition fair in the EU.

The streaming service has previously complained to regulators about Apple over the years, but its latest push comes as the tech giant is due to release plans for a video streaming service.

Spotify and rival Deezer were among those who issued a joint letter last year calling for the EU to get tougher on unfair business practices by tech giants.

Apple
Image: Spotify said it initially approached Apple directly over its concerns

Apple Music was introduced in 2009 and is currently the top paid music streaming service in the US – but Spotify remains the global leader in music streaming.

Apple representatives have not immediately responded for comment.

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