Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission, accusing them of charging the well known “Apple tax” which gives Apple an unfair advantage over rival companies.
Spotify is saying that Apple charges Spotify a 30% tax on purchases made through Apple’s payment system but this fees gives Apple an undue advantage as their rival streaming service Apple Music then comes out to be a cheaper bargain. They note that other apps on the App Store, including Uber and Deliveroo, are not subject to the 30% fee.
“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,” wrote CEO Daniel Ek in a blog post. After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, we’re now requesting that the EC take action to ensure fair competition. Apple operates a platform that, for over a billion people around the world, is the gateway to the internet. Apple is both the owner of the iOS platform and the App Store—and a competitor to services like Spotify. In theory, this is fine. But in Apple’s case, they continue to give themselves an unfair advantage at every turn.”
Apple has not commented on the complaint yet. Ek added that if Spotify avoids in-app purchases, “Apple then applies a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions on Spotify. For example, they limit our communication with our customers—including our outreach beyond the app. In some cases, we aren’t even allowed to send emails to our customers who use Apple. Apple also routinely blocks our experience-enhancing upgrades. Over time, this has included locking Spotify and other competitors out of Apple services such as Siri, HomePod, and Apple Watch.”
Spotify has also released an animated video in support of their campaign: