Spotify Files Complaint Against Apple With European Regulators Over 'Unfair' App Store Practices

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
48,662
10,081



Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission, accusing the iPhone maker of enforcing App Store rules that "purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience" and "acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers."


In a blog post, Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek took particular issue with Apple charging a 30 percent "tax" on App Store purchases. This results in Spotify charging existing subscribers $12.99 per month for its Premium plan via the App Store just to collect nearly the $9.99 per month it charges normally.

Ek believes this gives Apple an "unfair advantage," since Spotify is unable to fairly compete with Apple Music's standard $9.99 per month price within the App Store. This is a big deal given there are over a billion active iOS devices.

As an alternative, if Spotify chooses not to collect payments via the App Store, Ek notes that Apple "applies a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions" on the company. Over time, this has also included "locking Spotify and other competitors out of Apple services such as Siri, HomePod, and Apple Watch."


Ek stresses that this is "not a Spotify-versus-Apple issue" and simply about seeking "the same fair rules for companies young and old, large and small."

Apps like Uber and Deliveroo, for example, are allowed to collect payments directly from customers since they offer "goods or services that will be consumed outside of the app," according to Apple's App Store guidelines. Unlike Spotify, this allows these apps to bypass Apple's 30 percent commission.

Ek summarized what he is asking for into three points:"First, apps should be able to compete fairly on the merits, and not based on who owns the App Store. We should all be subject to the same fair set of rules and restrictions--including Apple Music."
"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."
"Finally, app stores should not be allowed to control the communications between services and users, including placing unfair restrictions on marketing and promotions that benefit consumers."Ek notes that Spotify tried "unsuccessfully" to resolve the issues directly with Apple, leading to its carefully considered complaint with the European Commission. Spotify is based in Stockholm, Sweden.

Spotify has launched a "Time To Play Fair" website and shared a companion video to inform customers about its complaint.

Article Link: Spotify Files Complaint Against Apple With European Regulators Over 'Unfair' App Store Practices
 
  • Like
Reactions: drvendit

az431

Suspended
Sep 13, 2008
1,528
4,446
Portland, OR
Apple doesn't prohibit Spotify from selling subscriptions outside the App Store, so this will go nowhere.
[doublepost=1552480911][/doublepost]
Of course, the Apple store is rigged. But Tim Apple owns the hardware, the OS, the content and the infrastructure. He calls the shots. If you don't like it go someplace else. Oh right.
Kind of like McDonald's is rigged because I can't buy a Sonic hot dog there?
 

ugahairydawgs

macrumors 68030
Jun 10, 2010
2,727
1,373
They could quite easily just not offer signups in the app to get around the 30% fee, but they know that. It's easier to just try and play the little brother role and give the "woe is me" speech.

I guess they finally realized giving away the service for free wasn't a sustainable business model.
 

farkingdom

macrumors member
Mar 20, 2012
67
138
I still don't understand why I cannot use Siri to play Spotify. Or on the HomePod.
While I love iOS, I hate that Apple is intentionally damaging their user base experience for those who chose to use a competitor product instead of their own.
Remember Apple, developers are the one who made you to what you are today. If they all pull out, you have nothing left.
 

applepuree

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2014
386
552
The best thing Apple fans can do is response is cancel any Spotify subscriptions. Hopefully though, very few of us are giving money to Spotify anyway. Apple Music is superior in every way IMHO.
I personally find Spotify much better than AM. AM is fine if your into rap and hip hop perhaps, but I find music discovery with AM to be terrible. Although I have a subscription to AM, I find I still go back to Spotify for 95% of my music. Siri on HomePod can never find music on AM that I ask for, even though I know its in my AM library. So, I return to Spotify, and stream it to the HomePod.

I hope Spotify wins this case.


YMMV
 

Ries

macrumors 68020
Apr 21, 2007
2,197
2,590
The best thing Apple fans can do is response is cancel any Spotify subscriptions. Hopefully though, very few of us are giving money to Spotify anyway. Apple Music is superior in every way IMHO.
Apple Music sucks IMHO, spotify is way better. The simple fact you're cheering for getting ripped off... You paid for the phone, but you're fine with Apple stifling competition that would give you cheaper services.

Should your ISP get 30% off Apples revenue? If Apple doesn't like it, they can launch their own network right?

MS got fined for pushing Internet Explorer over others and in their case you could install the competition, in Apple's case you can't even do that.
 

az431

Suspended
Sep 13, 2008
1,528
4,446
Portland, OR
I still don't understand why I cannot use Siri to play Spotify. Or on the HomePod.
While I love iOS, I hate that Apple is intentionally damaging their user base experience for those who chose to use a competitor product instead of their own.
Remember Apple, developers are the one who made you to what you are today. If they all pull out, you have nothing left.
The App Store is barely 5% of Apple revenues, and Apple was around and successful well before the App Store existed. And there are also tens of thousands of people working at Apple are at least partially responsible for making the App Store a reality.

So no, developers are not the ones who made Apple what they are today.
 

rjohnstone

macrumors 68040
Dec 28, 2007
3,555
3,637
PHX, AZ.
The best thing Apple fans can do is response is cancel any Spotify subscriptions. Hopefully though, very few of us are giving money to Spotify anyway. Apple Music is superior in every way IMHO.
Spotify has more paid subscribers than Apple Music. This is a well known fact.

If Apple were to cancel all subscription payments paid via the App Store, they would be open to class action lawsuits and a host of other legal issues.

Spotify has a point here.
Apple is not only the owner of the App Store, they are also a competitor offering the exact same type of service.
Having a built in 30% “fee” is the epitome of an unfair advantage.
They are simply acting as a card processor in the transaction. The average processing fee is 5% or less literally everywhere else.
That would be fair.
 

gnipgnop

macrumors 65816
Feb 18, 2009
1,400
1,631
One possible solution is to bar Apple from charging the fee for apps they're directly competing against with their own 1st party apps. Another is the Warren proposal to bar Apple from having their own apps compete within the App Store. I'm not sure that would be so bad. How hard would it be for Apple to provide a route that was outside the App Store to download 1st party apps?
 

apolloa

Suspended
Oct 21, 2008
12,318
7,798
Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
I didn’t know Uber could collect money outside of it’s app! Now that changes things.. well done Spotify, the EU commission will certainly fully investigate this and they take no prisoners or bribes. Microsoft can attest to that...

I’ve used both services and so far have stuck with Spotify. But it does have the issue of reloading, mind you a lot of apps on my XR do that, and it forgets what I was playing.
 
Last edited:

az431

Suspended
Sep 13, 2008
1,528
4,446
Portland, OR
Apple Music sucks IMHO, spotify is way better. The simple fact you're cheering for getting ripped off... You paid for the phone, but you're fine with Apple stifling competition that would give you cheaper services.

Should your ISP get 30% off Apples revenue? If Apple doesn't like it, they can launch their own network right?

MS got fined for pushing Internet Explorer over others and in their case you could install the competition, in Apple's case you can't even do that.
How are you getting ripped off when you can choose either service for the exact same price? The only one "getting ripped off" here--if anyone--is Spotify, and only if they can convince the EU that they are in fact losing sales.

But that argument will never fly because as everyone knows, as soon as you sign up for Spotify you are bombarded with emails directing you to their website for the $9.99 pricing.

In fact, Spotify could completely remove IAPs from their app just like Netflix did, and not lose a single sale. Instead they choose to pout and whine to the EU, which will do nothing because Apple does not prevent Spotify from selling subscriptions for $9.99 a month.
 

TallManNY

macrumors 601
Nov 5, 2007
4,347
1,202
I still don't understand why I cannot use Siri to play Spotify. Or on the HomePod.
While I love iOS, I hate that Apple is intentionally damaging their user base experience for those who chose to use a competitor product instead of their own.
Remember Apple, developers are the one who made you to what you are today. If they all pull out, you have nothing left.
Apple has nearly a monopoly on U.S. smartphone revenue (including actual purchases on Apps made by U.S. folks). Is there really anywhere for U.S. smartphone app developers to go other than iOS? I do think this is a real issue and I suspect it is getting worse as U.S. becomes even more entrenched in the iOS ecosystem.
 

gnipgnop

macrumors 65816
Feb 18, 2009
1,400
1,631
Although I have a subscription to AM, I find I still go back to Spotify for 95% of my music.
95%? Sounds like an exaggeration. These services don't have THAT much of a difference in terms of what's licensed for streaming. It's always going to be less than what you can buy as a digital download, and digital downloads are always going to be less than what you can find on physical media.
 

swingerofbirch

macrumors 68040
Spotify is the better product and experience. Apple is crippling the iPhone experience (preventing Siri integration etc) to keep Apple Music in the game.

When my MacBook Pro breaks down and has to be sent in (please don't again, knock on wood), Spotify plays fine on the Web on my ChromeBook and it's interface is just so Apple 2001—like the original iTunes.
 

TallManNY

macrumors 601
Nov 5, 2007
4,347
1,202
One possible solution is to bar Apple from charging the fee for apps they're directly competing against with their own 1st party apps. Another is the Warren proposal to bar Apple from having their own apps compete within the App Store. I'm not sure that would be so bad. How hard would it be for Apple to provide a route that was outside the App Store to download 1st party apps?
If they made an Apple only App Store, that might be even worse. Users might start using only that App Store (because quality of Apps and security of them would be very high) and then some would forget the 3rd party App Store even exists.
 

erinsarah

macrumors 6502
Mar 17, 2011
322
415
They could quite easily just not offer signups in the app to get around the 30% fee, but they know that. It's easier to just try and play the little brother role and give the "woe is me" speech.
Yes but their problem isn't that they can simply charge membership outside the app, the problem is that by having to do that, they are saying Apple is therefore punishing them by not allowing Spotify to play through the watch and Homepod, and otherwise minimizing their existence in the Apple ecosystem.

I'm not necessarily agreeing with Spotify here though. Understanding that streaming Spotify through a Homepod requires some sort of agreement with Apple, I would think (perhaps naively) that Spotify and Apple could craft a homepod-streaming agreement that has nothing to do with signing up through the app, without having to sue in order to get there.
 

erinsarah

macrumors 6502
Mar 17, 2011
322
415
If they made an Apple only App Store, that might be even worse. Users might start using only that App Store (because quality of Apps and security of them would be very high) and then some would forget the 3rd party App Store even exists.
Not to mention that ONE of the primary reasons Apple created the app store to begin with was to be able to control the experience for the purposes of security, elimination of viruses and evilness, etc.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.