Spotify files antitrust complaint over ‘Apple tax’

Spotify announced this morning that it filed an antitrust complaint against Apple before the European Union, alleging that the iPhone manufacturer is harming consumer choice and repressing innovation through the rules that apply in the App Store.

As the CEO of Spotify, Daniel Ek, pointed out in a blog post, the company is particularly annoyed by Apple's 30 percent cut in subscriptions made through the App Store. This "tax", Ek suggests, seems designed to damage transmission services that compete with Apple's.

Ek says that if Spotify pays this cut, it has to "artificially inflate" its prices "well above the Apple Music price." But if it does not pay, Apple applies "a series of technical restrictions and experience limitations" that make Spotify a lower experience. Ek also notes that Apple "routinely blocks our updates that enhance the experience," including the blocking of Spotify and other competitors of Apple's services such as Siri, Homepod and Apple Watch.

In addition to filing a complaint with the European Commission of the EU, the body that handles antitrust matters, Spotify launched a press campaign, which includes a website dedicated to Apple's unfair conduct and a YouTube video that explains the company's complaints.

Interestingly, Ek's complaints echo the recent comments made by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Warren said last week that if elected president in 2020, she would break the big technology companies. He also criticized these companies for the same reason that Ek is criticizing Apple: pointing out that they operate in markets in which they also compete against their rivals.

"It would be forbidden for companies to have both the utility of the platform and the participants in that platform," said Warren, who highlighted Amazon and Google, but not Apple.

This is the first time that a complaint of this kind against the App Store is publicly presented in the EU, although companies have criticized Apple's 30 percent cut in the App Store since it was introduced for the purchase of applications in 2011. [19659009] A spokesman for the European Commission, the EU body that deals with antitrust complaints, told The Wall Street Journal that he had received the complaint from Spotify and was " evaluating [it] according to our standard procedures ". ] Developing …

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