Spotify reports Apple to EU commission over rules which ‘disadvantage’ app developers

Spotify fired a broadside at Apple today as it reported its rival to the EU competition authorities over the way that the tech giant’s App Store works.

Chief executive Daniel Ek blasted what he called an “Apple tax” which forces his company to pay a 30 per cent commission for sales made via Apple’s payment system.

He urged the European Commission to open an antitrust probe into Apple, citing rules which favour Spotify-rival Apply Music.

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“In recent years, Apple has introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience – essentially acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers,” Ek wrote.

“After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, we’re now requesting that the European Commission take action to ensure fair competition.”

Ek called for apps to be able to compete on their merits, not based on who owns the App Store. He also wants customers to have “a real choice of payment systems”.

He complained that Apple “routinely” blocks Spotify’s upgrades and being locked out of services including Siri and Apple Watch.

“We aren’t seeking special treatment. 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,” Ek said.

A spokesperson for the European Commission confirmed that it had received a complaint and will assess it under the standard procedure.

There are no regulations for how long this initial assessment can take, and the time frame depends on a series of factors, the spokesperson said.

Apple has been contacted for comment.