Spotify files competition complaint against Apple's 30% 'tax'

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Music site Spotify has complained to European Union regulators about Apple, saying that the USA tech giant is abusing its dominant position in music streaming and hurting competition.

Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple with European Commission regulators, alleging the so-called "Apple tax" gives Apple an "unfair advantage" over rival companies.

Under App store rules, Spotify said, content-based apps could not include buttons or external links to pages with production information, discounts or promotions and faced difficulties fixing bugs.

Invisible to the customer is the fee apple takes when purchasing in the app store or a subscription within an app.

"We aren't seeking special treatment", he said in a blog post.

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". He continued saying, "For example, they limit our communication with our customers-including our outreach beyond the app". "After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, we're now requesting that the [European Commission] take action to ensure fair competition". He explained that the charge could push Spotify to inflate its prices above the cost for a subscription to Apple Music, Apple's music streaming service.

"Once Apple became a platform provider, but also a direct competitor, their incentive to disadvantage rival services, like Spotify, became even greater and their restrictions started to become more frequent and extreme", Horacio Gutierrez, Spotify's general counsel, told journalists in a briefing in Brussels on Wednesday. Apple is both the owner of the iOS platform and the App Store-and a competitor to services like Spotify.

Meanwhile, other developers have also complained about Apple's constantly evolving App Store guidelines, which feels shifting goalposts that the company changes on a whim, often to suit its own interests while claiming to do so on behalf of its users. In Spotify's case, the company finds itself competing with Apple Music, the streaming service that comes preloaded on iPhone. He also wants customers to have "a real choice of payment systems".

The final complaint is increasingly restrictive conditions on how app makers can communicate with subscribers who sign up using the iPhone app.

Apple hasn't yet responded to the filing or the allegations.

"Let me be clear that this is not a Spotify-versus-Apple issue", Ek concluded. "We should all be subject to the same fair set of rules and restrictions, including Apple Music". That's what competition on the merits is all about.

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