Spotify Is Hitting Apple With an Antitrust Complaint Over the ‘Unfair Advantage’ becaue of the App Store

Spotify Is Hitting Apple With an Antitrust Complaint Over the ‘Unfair Advantage’ of the App Store

By Connor Smith March 13, 2019 at 11:01 a.m. ET

Spotify announced Wednesday that it had filed an antitrust complaint against Apple. 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.”

“Apple requires that Spotify and other digital services pay a 30% tax on purchases made through Apple’s payment system, including upgrading from our Free to our Premium service,” Elk said in a statement. “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. And to keep our price competitive for our customers, that isn’t something we can do.”

Elk said Spotify can choose not to use Apple’s payment system, avoiding the 30% fee, but that would limit functions on the app like mass emails to users. Some apps, like Uber or Deliveroo, aren’t subject to the Apple fee, according to Elk.

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Elk also said Apple has blocked Spotify from implementing “experience-enhancing upgrades” on services and devices like Siri and Apple Watch. In his statement, Elk called for a “fair set of rules and restrictions,” options beyond one payment system with fees, and for and end to “unfair restrictions on marketing and promotions that benefit consumers.”

Spotify’s complaint comes amid growing calls for more regulation of big tech companies in Europe and in the U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) recently proposed breaking up big tech companies as a part of her presidential campaign.

Spotify recently picked up one million users during its first week in India, the company confirmed on March 5. An analyst who called Netflix’s stock surge said this week that Spotify stock could see “dramatic returns.” Apple, meanwhile, is expected to unveil a new streaming service during a March 25 event. An analyst said it could attract 100 million subscriptions in a few years.


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