Spotify takes a slice out of 'unfair' Apple tax

Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple claiming that its 30% tax on app store purchases is "unfair, and stifles innovation.”


March 13, 2019

Spotify has filed a complaint with European regulators over Apple’s “unfair” app store practices, including the 30% commission that Apple pockets with every app purchase.

In a recent blog post, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek claimed that Apple abuses its position as “both a player and referee,” purposefully disadvantaging third-party app developers with restrictions that “limit choice and stifle innovation.” 

The core of the issue

Apple controls both the iOS platform and its app store… which gets seedy when you consider that it also competes directly with some apps sold through that store (think: Apple Music vs. Spotify). 

Apple’s 30% “tax” on all app store purchases forces developers to hike subscription prices — making Apple Music look a bit more shiny and delicious to consumers — or eat the loss.

So, then, why not just peel off and do their own thing? In 2016, Spotify updated their payment policies to do just that, which caused Apple to respond by restricting app upgrades and limiting customer communication. 

This isn’t the first time Apple has had to [antitrust] suit up

Last November, a group of iPhone users filed a monopolization lawsuit over the commission issue. Now, the developers are singing a similar tune.

Since direct appeals proved unfruitful, Spotify has filed an official complaint with the EC, an entity notoriously tough on big tech

You hear that? It’s the distant crunching sound of Elizabeth Warren chomping into a Macintosh.

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