Spotify files complaint against Apple for its unreasonable 30% tax

Spotify files complaint against Apple for its unreasonable 30% tax

Spotify did opt out of Apple's payment system back in 2016, but it still can't email Apple customers about offers and other information.

In an antitrust complaint to the European Commission, the music streaming service accused Apple of abusing its control over its App Store and unfairly "taxing" apps like Spotify that compete with Apple's own streaming service, said Daniel Ek, the company's chief executive. It can include limitations around outreach to users, delays or blocks to app updates, and preventing Spotify from integrating with devices and services like HomePod and Siri.

A source told Business Insider that the difference is how Apple and Google behave with apps that circumvent their app-store fees.

Horacio Gutierrez, Spotify's general counsel, said the company was pressured into using the billing system in 2014, but then was forced to raise the monthly fee of its premium service from 9.99 to 12.99 euros, just as Apple Music launched at Spotify's initial 9.99 price.

Monday's official complaint marks a public escalation in the music-streaming service's long-running battle with Apple.

The streaming music service announced its "Time to Play Fair" campaign today, accusing Apple of, among other things, regularly changing the rules for iOS developers in ways that disadvantage rivals.

From there, Ek goes on to lament that if the company decides that situation is too onerous and doesn't want to use Apple's payment system as a way of getting around this, "Apple then applies a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions on Spotify". The European Commission said it has received Spotify's complaint, which it is assessing under its "standard procedures".

He writes that Apple continues to give themselves an unfair advantage at every turn.

One example that Ek outlined in his written deposition, is the manner in which Apple taxes businesses that want to use their platform as a seller's market. "After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, we're now requesting that the [European Commission] take action to ensure fair competition".

Spotify argues that its complaint to regulators is not about seeking "special treatment" in its global music battle against Apple but the same treatment as numerous other apps such as Uber and Deliveroo, which are not subject to the 30% app store charge.

"We should all be subject to the same fair set of rules and restrictions-including Apple Music", he said. He adds that all App Store users should have a choice of payment systems, and not be locked into using Apple's platform. That's what competition on the merits is all about.

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