Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Spotify: Apple abuses App Store's power to 'stifle' rivals

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Daniel Ek has been CEO of Spotify since he co-founded it in 2006. Spotify
Troy Mann | 14 March, 2019, 14:15

According to Spotify, Apple makes life hard for any service that tries to get around the 30% fee.

"It's why, after careful consideration, Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission (EC), the regulatory body responsible for keeping competition fair and nondiscriminatory". Right now, both music streaming platforms have the same prices.

It's not the first time Apple has faced criticism over how it manages the App Store, and the demands it places on developers producing apps for iOS devices like iPhone and iPad.

Echoing complaints from other media companies, Spotify says Apple charges Spotify a 30% tax on purchases made through Apple's payment system. That is the 30% of monthly subscription fees that Apple takes on subscriptions made through its payment system.

Founder and CEO of Spotify Daniel Ek has spoken out in a blog post about Apple's rules on the App Store that "purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience".

"As an alternative, if we choose not to use Apple's payment system, forgoing the charge, Apple then applies a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions on Spotify".

Spotify began emailing customers in 2015 that they should cancel subscriptions purchased through Apple's App Store.

The music-streaming service is particularly irked by the 30 percent cut Apple takes from Spotify Premium subscriptions that customers complete through the App Store.

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Spotify then ceased use of Apple's IAP system, meaning Spotify customers could only upgrade to the fee-based package indirectly, such as on a laptop.

Spotify wants Europe's competition watchdog to examine Apple for the way it runs the App Store.

"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.

The executive says that all apps should be able to compete fairly, and Apple Music shouldn't get an advantage because Apple owns the App Store.

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.

Mashable has reached out to Apple for comment and we'll update this article when we hear from them.

A spat between the companies that operate two of the biggest music streaming services in the world has landed at the doorstep of the European Union, which has been taking an increasingly tough stance lately against antitrust-related issues involving U.S. tech companies.

The final complaint is increasingly restrictive conditions on how app makers can communicate with subscribers who sign up using the iPhone app. We want the same fair rules for companies young and old, large and small.

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