Spotify Files EU Complaint Against Apple Over 30 Percent App Tax

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek

Spotify's agitation about Apple's App Store, which stretches back several years, centers on its claims that Apple abuses its position both as a direct competitor to Spotify and as the owner of its powerful app marketplace.

Spotify (SPOT) announced Wednesday that it had filed an antitrust complaint against Apple (AAPL). Spotify CEO Daniek Ek, in a blog post today explaining the move, said some of Apple's rules around third-party apps "limit choice and stifle innovation".

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

It's not the first time Apple has faced criticism over how it manages the App Store, and the demands it places on developers producing apps for iOS devices like iPhone and iPad.

Central to Spotify's complaint, filed to the European Commission on Monday, is what it says is a 30 percent fee Apple charges content-based service providers to use Apple's in-app purchase system (IAP). Apple charges the fee to all subscription apps that bill via the App Store.

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".

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For example, they won't let us market to our customers who use our app on iOS. "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 wasn't looking for special treatment, but "we should all be subject to the same fair set of rules and restrictions - including Apple Music", Ek said. Apple allegedly has also been routinely blocking Spotify's experience-enhancing upgrades.

Mashable has reached out to Apple for comment and we'll update this article when we hear from them.

The restrictions, according to Ek, limit Spotify's communication, disallowing the music streaming platform to send emails to its customers who use Apple in some cases. "We believe Spotify is largely on the right side in both facts and principle, which creates risk that App Store policy terms will be forcibly changed in a way that negatively impacts Services revenue and Apple's brand", KeyBanc analysts wrote in a note to clients. Also, that consumers should have the choice of using whichever payment system they want within the apps and that developers should not be prevented from communicating with its users when it comes to marketing and promotions.

Spotify ran an ad campaign in 2016 to try and get users to sign up for its premium service directly on its own site, bypassing the app store.

App Stores should not be allowed to control the communications between services and users.

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