Apple Officially Responds to Spotify’s EU Antitrust Complaint

Spotify has launched a campaign in the EU against Apple’s unfair practices.

Updated
Tech News
2 min read
Spotify came to India on 27 February 2019.
i

This story has been updated after Apple released a statement against Spotify’s allegations on Apple’s unfair practices around the App Store contributions.

Apple has responded to Spotify’s recent complaint to the EU on Apple’s unfair taxes imposed on the music streaming app. Apple has come out and referred to the charges as “misleading rhetoric”.

Apple has said that Spotify "seeks to keep all of the benefits of the app store ecosystem" but "without making any contributions to the marketplace."

Apple also accused Spotify of “making ever-smaller contributions to the artists, musicians and songwriters” who create the music and added that it has also gone so far “as to take these creators to court.

Spotify wouldn’t be the business they are today without the App Store ecosystem, but now they’re leveraging their scale to avoid contributing to maintaining that ecosystem for the next generation of app entrepreneurs. We think that’s wrong.
Apple Inc.

Just recently, music streaming application Spotify filed an antitrust complaint with the EU against American tech giant Apple over unfair rules Apple has imposed on the app on the App store.

Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek outlined highlighted in a blogpost, that the company was particularly annoyed with the 30 percent cut that the App Store takes for Spotify subscriptions.

Spotify, which was recently launched in India said that Apple’s control of its App store, deprived consumers of choice and levying this "tax" seemed to be an added advantage Apple Music had over its rivals.

Ek also went on to add that if Spotify pays the cut to Apple, it automatically has to inflate the prices of its own music streaming app well above Apple Music. But, if the company doesn't pay the 30 percent, Apple applies “a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions” that project Spotify as an app offering inferior experience.

In addition to this Ek noted that Apple “routinely blocks our experience-enhancing upgrades,” including locking Spotify and other competitors out of Apple services like Siri, HomePod, and Apple Watch.

Not only has Spotify filed a complaint with the European Commission, the body that takes care of antitrust issues, but it also has launched a press campaign including a website dedicated to Apple's unfair practices. The company has also posted a YouTube video highlighting the company's grievances.

This is the first time that an antitrust complaint has been filed against Apple App Store and has been publicly registered with the EU. There have been many companies in the past which have criticised Apple on these practices — like the Apple tax, which it started imposing not long post the launch of the App Store in 2011.

The EU’s track record with antitrust complaints has been impressive. In 2017, Google had been fined a whopping 2.4 billion euros for complaints related to its shopping business and subsequently in 2018 it was fined 4.3 billion euros for complaints on stifling competition in the Android platform.

— with inputs from The Verge

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