Spotify has filed a complaint with EU antitrust regulators against Apple, saying the iPhone maker unfairly limits rivals to its own Apple Music streaming service.
Spotify said on Wednesday that Apple’s control of its App store deprived consumers of choice and rival providers of audio streaming services to the benefit of Apple Music, which began in 2015.
According to the complaint, filed to the European Commission on Monday, Spotify says that iPhone maker has created an “untenable” situation by imposing ever-changing rules and a 30 percent tax for apps that compete with Apple Music. Specifically, Spotify says that Apple charges a 30 percent fee to content-based service providers to use Apple’s in-app purchase system (IAP).
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.
Spotify then ceased use of Apple’s IAP system, meaning Spotify customers could only upgrade to the fee-based package indirectly, such as on a laptop.
Under App store rules, Spotify said, content-based apps could not include buttons or external links to pages with production information, discounts or promotions and faced difficulties fixing bugs. Such restrictions do not apply to Android phones, it said.
Voice recognition system Siri would not hook iPhone users up to Spotify and Apple declined to let Spotify launch an app on its Apple Watch, Spotify said.
Spotify Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek said in a blog post the complaint asks the commission to focus on three main areas: allowing apps to compete fairly, allow consumers to use other payment systems and not be “locked-in” to Apple’s system, and stop app stores from imposing unfair limits on marketing and promotions and controlling the communication with users.