Spotify files anti-competition complaint against Apple’s 30% tax

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Spotify has submitted a complaint against Apple to the European Commission (EC) arguing that the iPhone maker gives itself an unfair advantage by charging digital app rivals a 30% tax on purchases made through iOS.

The music streaming service’s founder and chief executive Daniel Ek accused Apple of introducing rules to the Apple Store that “purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience”.

Apple takes a 30% cut of purchases made through its payment system, including upgrades from Spotify’s free to premium service, which Spotify claims is unfair given that Apple has its own streaming service, Apple Music.

The tax does not apply if people subscribe through a non-Apple device, such as on a desktop, and then use the service afterwards on an Apple device.

Mr Ek said Spotify has resorted to sending a complaint to the regulatory body responsible for keeping competition fair in the EU, after trying to resolve the issue with Apple directly.

“We aren’t seeking special treatment,” he said in a blog post.

Apple
Apple is accused by Spotify of giving itself an unfair advantage (Yui Mok/PA)

“We simply want the same treatment as numerous other apps on the App Store, like Uber or Deliveroo, who aren’t subject to the Apple tax and therefore don’t have the same restrictions.”

Technical and experience-limiting restrictions are imposed on Spotify that makes it difficult to communicate with customers if they choose not to use Apple’s payment system, Mr Ek added.

Apple has been approached for comment.

Chris Price
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