Spotify has started a battle with Apple for a fair and equal App Store

The audio streaming company has filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission

Spotify is fed up with Apple taking a 30 percent cut from sales it makes in the App Store. As a result, the streaming platform has filed an antitrust complaint with the Europen Commission in an effort to force Apple to level the playing field

While the outcome of this decision will be specific to the EU, it could have worldwide repercussions similar to when the European Union instated a law that forced websites to disclose the use of cookies to track users. The European Commission is the regulatory body responsible for keeping competition fair in the EU.

In a recent blog post, the streaming service’s CEO Daniel Ek outlines that Apple takes 30 percent of the money earned from App Store sales. This would include in-app purchases, subscriptions and the cost of paid apps.

This is why You can’t sign up for Netflix or Spotify Premium on iOS

Ek’s point is that Apple does this to force companies, like Spotify, to charge Apple users more than competing services offered by the Cupertino, California tech giant. If Spotify wants to make the same amount of profit from each subscriber as Apple Music, it needs to charge users 30 percent more.

In the past, for example, the App Store Spotify cost $13.99 per month for the premium version of its streaming service, compared to $9.99 for Apple Music.

“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. For example, they limit our communication with our customers — including our outreach beyond the app. In some cases, we aren’t even allowed to send emails to our customers who use Apple,” writes Ek in the blog post.

Currently, Spotify doesn’t allow users to purchase a Premium subscription through its iOS app. Netflix also doesn’t let users subscribe to its services through its iOS app either.

Ek furthers his point by stating that “Apple also routinely blocks our experience-enhancing upgrades. Over time, this has included locking Spotify and other competitors out of Apple services such as Siri, HomePod, and Apple Watch.”

However, when it comes to the Android space, things are a little different.

Google has recently altered its in-app transaction fees to appease third-party companies like Spotify and Netflix.

“As of January 1, 2018, the transaction fee for subscription products decreases to 15 percent for any subscribers you retain after 12 paid months,” reads Google’s support page. Prior to the 12 month period, Google takes the same 30 percent cut as Apple does. Apple offers the same deal according to this Gamasutra article, so it’s unclear if Spotify has the same issues on Android. MobileSyrup has reached out to Spotify to find out if it has qulams with Google as well.

In the post, Ek mentions that transactions within apps like Uber aren’t subject to Apple’s tax, and Spotify believes that it shouldn’t be either.

Spotify urges European Commission to let it compete fairly

He outlines three requests that Spotify is making to the European Commission. Firstly, the streaming music platform believes that all apps in the App Store should compete fairly and that Apple’s products shouldn’t receive special treatment.

To his second point, that people should have a real choice regarding what services they want to use instead of being pushed to subscribe to Apple’s offerings because the tech giant owns the store the services are sold in. Ek doesn’t mention this specifically, but when you search Spotify in the App Store, Apple Music is the first result.

Finally, Ek asserts that the App Store shouldn’t be allowed to control communications between a service and its users.

Spotify is making a real push to fight the Apple tax by publishing a report detailing the App Store fees and what the service is forced to deal with to make its app available on Apple’s devices.  Spotify even alleges that it isn’t allowed to direct users out of the iOS version of its app to sign up for the Premium tier of its service.

Currently, if you’re a free tier Spotify user and you tap on the ‘Premium’ menu tab, all the service is allowed say is “Spotify Premium can’t be purchased in this app.”

Source: Spotify (1)(2)

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