Spotify Files Complaint Against Apple With European Regulators Over 'Unfair' App Store Practices

Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission, accusing the iPhone maker of enforcing App Store rules that "purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience" and "acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers."

spotify complaint apple eu
In a blog post, Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek took particular issue with Apple charging a 30 percent "tax" on ‌App Store‌ purchases. This results in Spotify charging existing subscribers $12.99 per month for its Premium plan via the ‌App Store‌ just to collect nearly the $9.99 per month it charges normally.

Ek believes this gives Apple an "unfair advantage," since Spotify is unable to fairly compete with Apple Music's standard $9.99 per month price within the ‌App Store‌. This is a big deal given there are over a billion active iOS devices.

As an alternative, if Spotify chooses not to collect payments via the ‌App Store‌, Ek notes that Apple "applies a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions" on the company. Over time, this has also included "locking Spotify and other competitors out of Apple services such as Siri, HomePod, and Apple Watch."


Ek stresses that this is "not a Spotify-versus-Apple issue" and simply about seeking "the same fair rules for companies young and old, large and small."

Apps like Uber and Deliveroo, for example, are allowed to collect payments directly from customers since they offer "goods or services that will be consumed outside of the app," according to Apple's App Store guidelines. Unlike Spotify, this allows these apps to bypass Apple's 30 percent commission.

Ek summarized what he is asking for into three points:

  • "First, apps should be able to compete fairly on the merits, and not based on who owns the ‌App Store‌. We should all be subject to the same fair set of rules and restrictions—including ‌Apple Music‌."

  • "Second, consumers should have a real choice of payment systems, and not be 'locked in' or forced to use systems with discriminatory tariffs such as Apple's."

  • "Finally, app stores should not be allowed to control the communications between services and users, including placing unfair restrictions on marketing and promotions that benefit consumers."

Ek notes that Spotify tried "unsuccessfully" to resolve the issues directly with Apple, leading to its carefully considered complaint with the European Commission. Spotify is based in Stockholm, Sweden.

Spotify has launched a "Time To Play Fair" website and shared a companion video to inform customers about its complaint.

Popular Stories

iOS 18 Mock iPhone 16 Feature Gray

Revealed: iOS 18 Works With These iPhone Models

Monday June 10, 2024 3:57 am PDT by
iOS 18 will be compatible with the same iPhone models as iOS 17, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS updates. iOS 18 will be compatible with the iPhone XR, and hence also the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models with the same A12 Bionic chip, but older iPhone models will miss out. Here is the full...
ios 18 tile summary

Apple Announces iOS 18 With New Customization Features, Redesigned Photos App, and More

Monday June 10, 2024 10:17 am PDT by
Apple today previewed iOS 18, the next major update to the operating system for the iPhone, with new customization features, a redesigned Photos app, and more. iOS 18 features new customization tools for the Home Screen. App icons now feature Dark Mode and users can tint them with a color to create a unique look. Apps can also now be placed anywhere on the Home Screen freely. The Control...
WWDC24 Live Coverage Article

WWDC 2024 Apple Event Live Keynote Coverage: iOS 18, Apple's AI Push, and More

Monday June 10, 2024 9:20 am PDT by
Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) starts today with the traditional keynote kicking things off at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. MacRumors is on hand for the event and we'll be sharing details and our thoughts throughout the day. We're expecting to see a number of software-related announcements with a focus on Apple's efforts to infuse AI throughout its operating systems and apps....
iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

Massive iPhone Upgrade Coming This Week But These Devices Will Miss Out

Sunday June 9, 2024 1:25 pm PDT by
Apple is planning a major AI overhaul in iOS 18, with a feature set it is referring to as "Apple Intelligence." However, these new features will not work on older iPhones, even if they do appear on the new operating system's device compatibility list. Apple's initial AI roadmap for iOS 18 is said to come in two parts: Basic AI features that will be processed on-device, and more advanced...
Next Gen CarPlay WWDC24 1

Apple Provides Updated Look at Next-Generation CarPlay at WWDC 2024

Monday June 10, 2024 7:11 pm PDT by
Apple today shared a few WWDC 2024 coding sessions related to its upcoming next-generation CarPlay system ahead of its launch later this year. The sessions include lots of updated next-generation CarPlay images, with one revealing new Vehicle, Media, and Climate apps in action for the first time. MacRumors previously discovered evidence of these apps in the iOS 17.4 beta. Next-generation...
iPad Air 5

New: iPadOS 18 Drops Support for These iPad Models

Monday June 10, 2024 4:16 am PDT by
iPadOS 18 will drop support for iPad models equipped with the A10X Fusion chip, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS and iPadOS updates. In other words, iPadOS 18 will drop support for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Support for the sixth-generation iPad, which uses the...
ios 18 button bulge

iOS 18 Adds Pop-Out Bezel Animation When Pressing iPhone Buttons

Tuesday June 11, 2024 10:40 am PDT by
iOS 18 includes a small but interesting change for the buttons on the iPhone, adding more of a visual element when changing volume, activating the Action button, or locking the screen. When you press an iPhone button in iOS 18, the display bezel bulges outward slightly. This feature is available for the volume buttons, Action button and the power button, and it will also likely be used for...

Top Rated Comments

Ries Avatar
69 months ago
The best thing Apple fans can do is response is cancel any Spotify subscriptions. Hopefully though, very few of us are giving money to Spotify anyway. Apple Music is superior in every way IMHO.
Apple Music sucks IMHO, spotify is way better. The simple fact you're cheering for getting ripped off... You paid for the phone, but you're fine with Apple stifling competition that would give you cheaper services.

Should your ISP get 30% off Apples revenue? If Apple doesn't like it, they can launch their own network right?

MS got fined for pushing Internet Explorer over others and in their case you could install the competition, in Apple's case you can't even do that.
Score: 78 Votes (Like | Disagree)
farkingdom Avatar
69 months ago
I still don't understand why I cannot use Siri to play Spotify. Or on the HomePod.
While I love iOS, I hate that Apple is intentionally damaging their user base experience for those who chose to use a competitor product instead of their own.
Remember Apple, developers are the one who made you to what you are today. If they all pull out, you have nothing left.
Score: 57 Votes (Like | Disagree)
applepuree Avatar
69 months ago
The best thing Apple fans can do is response is cancel any Spotify subscriptions. Hopefully though, very few of us are giving money to Spotify anyway. Apple Music is superior in every way IMHO.
I personally find Spotify much better than AM. AM is fine if your into rap and hip hop perhaps, but I find music discovery with AM to be terrible. Although I have a subscription to AM, I find I still go back to Spotify for 95% of my music. Siri on HomePod can never find music on AM that I ask for, even though I know its in my AM library. So, I return to Spotify, and stream it to the HomePod.

I hope Spotify wins this case.


YMMV
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
az431 Avatar
69 months ago
Apple doesn't prohibit Spotify from selling subscriptions outside the App Store, so this will go nowhere.
[doublepost=1552480911][/doublepost]
Of course, the Apple store is rigged. But Tim Apple owns the hardware, the OS, the content and the infrastructure. He calls the shots. If you don't like it go someplace else. Oh right.
Kind of like McDonald's is rigged because I can't buy a Sonic hot dog there?
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rjohnstone Avatar
69 months ago
The best thing Apple fans can do is response is cancel any Spotify subscriptions. Hopefully though, very few of us are giving money to Spotify anyway. Apple Music is superior in every way IMHO.
Spotify has more paid subscribers than Apple Music. This is a well known fact.

If Apple were to cancel all subscription payments paid via the App Store, they would be open to class action lawsuits and a host of other legal issues.

Spotify has a point here.
Apple is not only the owner of the App Store, they are also a competitor offering the exact same type of service.
Having a built in 30% “fee” is the epitome of an unfair advantage.
They are simply acting as a card processor in the transaction. The average processing fee is 5% or less literally everywhere else.
That would be fair.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dumastudetto Avatar
69 months ago
The best thing Apple fans can do is response is cancel any Spotify subscriptions. Hopefully though, very few of us are giving money to Spotify anyway. Apple Music is superior in every way IMHO.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)