Spotify files antitrust complaint to EU against Apple

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek

At the time, Spotify's then-Head of Global Head of Communications and Public Policy, Jonathan Prince, said: "You know there's something wrong when Apple makes more off a Spotify subscription than it does off an Apple Music subscription and doesn't share any of that with the music industry".

Spotify founder Daniel Ek said Wednesday that the company has filed a formal antitrust complaint with the executive European Commission against Apple - a move that adds to the debate about how to rein in the power of big-tech.

"In recent years, Apple has introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience - essentially acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers", Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek said in a statement.

The escalating conflict highlights growing criticism over the way Apple and Google control customer access to digital services. Music site Spotify has complained to European Union regulators about Apple, saying that the US tech giant is abusing its dominant position in music streaming and hurting competition.

Recently Senator Warren of MA criticised technology giants Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple for putting their competitors at a disadvantage.

US tech giants have already come under intense scrutiny from European Union authorities for their behavior. The executive says that all apps should be able to compete fairly, and Apple Music shouldn't get an advantage because Apple owns the App Store.

Echoing complaints from other media companies, Spotify says Apple charges Spotify a 30% tax on purchases made through Apple's payment system.

"If we pay this tax, it would force us to artificially inflate the price of our Premium membership well above the price of Apple Music", Ek argues. Apple then applies a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions on Spotify.

Spotify ended support for Apple's in-app subscription payments system for its premium service in 2016.

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.

How Apple handles that dual role of gatekeeper to iOS and also an app and services provider is part of Spotify's justification for its complaint to the European Commission (EC), according to the firm.

Apple's media team in Britain did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

When Spotify stopped using Apple's in-app payment system in the past after it was forced to hike the prices of its premium service, it claims Apple blocked "experience-enhancing" updates, locked Spotify out of services such as Siri, HomePod, and Apple Watch and, in some cases, stopped Spotify from sending emails to customers who use Apple devices.

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