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."


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.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
18 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)
Avatar
18 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)
Avatar
18 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)
Avatar
18 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)
Avatar
18 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)
Avatar
18 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: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Warns Against Closing MacBooks With a Cover Over the Camera

Friday July 10, 2020 11:12 am PDT by
Apple this month published a support document that warns customers against closing their Mac notebooks with a cover over the camera as it can lead to display damage. Image via Reddit Apple says that the clearance between the display and the keyboard is designed to very tight tolerances, which can be problematic. Covering the camera can also cause issues with automatic brightness and True Tone....

iPhone Users Who Experienced 'Batterygate' Can Now File to Receive Around $25 Settlement From Apple

Monday July 13, 2020 6:50 am PDT by
Earlier this year, Apple agreed to settle a U.S. class action lawsuit that accused the company of "secretly throttling" older iPhone models. Now, eligible iPhone owners are beginning to be notified about their legal rights and options. Under the proposed settlement, Apple will provide a cash payment of approximately $25 to each eligible iPhone owner who submits a claim, with its total payout ...

Possible 'iPhone 12' Battery Certifications Suggest Lower Capacities Than iPhone 11 Series

Monday July 13, 2020 4:22 am PDT by
MySmartPrice has spotted certifications for three new Apple batteries that it believes could be for the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup, despite them being less capacitive than the batteries in the current iPhone 11 series. The batteries are identified with the model numbers A2471, A2431, and A2466, and appear on Safety Korea, China's 3C, and the Danish agency UL Demko. Apple is expected to...

Google to 'Dramatically' Improve Chrome Impact on Mac Battery Life

Sunday July 12, 2020 1:56 pm PDT by
Google will address long-standing battery life issues, particularly on Mac devices, reports The Wall Street Journal. Chrome will improve "tab throttling" by better prioritizing active tabs and limiting resource drain from tabs open in the background. This is said to have a "dramatic impact on battery and performance." Google has reportedly been performing early tests on Mac laptops in...

Arm-Intel-PowerPC Universal Binaries Are Possible

Saturday July 11, 2020 1:42 pm PDT by
Casual MacRumors visitors may not realize that we have a very active PowerPC forum where users discuss issues related to PowerPC Macs that have not been produced since 2006. Threads range from hardware upgrades and software options to nostalgia: Photo by AphoticD Apple's recently announced transition to Apple Silicon (Arm) based Macs raised some interesting questions about future support...

Apple Pays Samsung an Estimated $950 Million for Missing OLED Panel Purchase Targets

Monday July 13, 2020 10:03 am PDT by
Apple in the second quarter of 2020 paid Samsung approximately $950 million for not meeting OLED panel purchase goals established in agreements between the two companies, according to display analysts at Display Supply Chain Consultants. Samsung last week shared guidance on revenue and operating profit for the second quarter of 2020, which included a one-time gain related to its display...

Apple Shares Humorous 'Working-From-Home Thing' Video

Monday July 13, 2020 9:31 am PDT by
Apple today shared a funny video focused on the problems that people working from home have to deal with, including noisy children, chaotic schedules, communication issues, and more. The video focuses on showing off Apple products and their capabilities that can be useful when working from home, such as the ability to scan a document with an iPhone, mark up a PDF, Siri Reminders, and more.The...

SoftBank Considering Possible Sale of Arm Holdings as Apple Gears Up for Arm-Based Macs

Monday July 13, 2020 2:00 pm PDT by
SoftBank, the company that owns chip designer Arm Holdings, is exploring options that include a full or partial sale or a public offering, reports The Wall Street Journal. SoftBank is working with Goldman Sachs Group as an advisor, and the explorations are at an early stage. The Wall Street Journal says that it's unknown how much interest there would be in Arm from financial or industry...

Rumor Suggests New Apple App for Windows Could Be Coming Soon

Tuesday July 14, 2020 1:54 am PDT by
Apple could be working towards the release of a new app for Windows 10, according to a report this week from an Italian website. The blog Aggiornamenti Lumia suggests that an app from Apple is "coming soon" to the Microsoft Store, but stops short of providing additional details. Apple still maintains a Windows version of the iTunes app, which has been discontinued on Mac and replaced by...

Deals: Amazon Taking $400 Off 16-Inch MacBook Pro, Starting at New Low Price of $1,999.99 for 512GB

Monday July 13, 2020 5:34 am PDT by
Amazon has introduced a new low price on Apple's 16-inch MacBook Pro today, including both 512GB and 1TB models. Starting with the 512GB model (2.6GHz 6-Core, 16GB RAM), you can get this notebook for $1,999.99, down from $2,399.00. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running....