Spotify has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple, complaining to the European Commission about the "Apple tax" and unfair behaviors by the Cupertino company. It argues that Apple both has a vested interest in promoting its own services, such as Apple Music, and the opportunity to potentially limit those of rivals.
It's not the first time Apple has faced criticism over how it manages the App Store, and the demands it places on developers producing apps for iOS devices like iPhone and iPad.
"Apple requires that Spotify and other digital services pay a 30% tax on purchases made through Apple's payment system, including upgrading from our Free to our Premium service". A growing number of software companies, including Netflix and the developers behind the popular video game Fortnite, are aiming to bypass app stores altogether, or minimize Apple's involvement in payments.
We aren't seeking special treatment.
From there, Ek goes on to lament that if the company decides that situation is too onerous and doesn't want to use Apple's payment system as a way of getting around this, "Apple then applies a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions on Spotify".
"All of these actions by Apple make it untenable for us as a competitor, and for us as a player in the global competitive ecosystem, to stand by and not take action", said Mr Gutierrez. Spotify is forced to choose either to charge Apple customers extra when they sign up for subscriptions through their iPhone apps or to take a hit on the revenue for every app-based subscriber that Apple Music doesn't have to pay, he said.
How Apple handles that dual role of gatekeeper to iOS and also an app and services provider is part of Spotify's justification for its complaint to the European Commission (EC), according to the firm.
Spotify wants the same treatment as other App Store apps like Uber and Deliveroo, "who aren't subject to the Apple tax and don't have the same problems". In some cases, we aren't even allowed to send emails to our customers who use Apple.
The executive says that all apps should be able to compete fairly, and Apple Music shouldn't get an advantage because Apple owns the App Store. Instead, the company is asking for fair set of rules that apple to everyone on the App Store, including Apple itself.
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. Then there were other issues, where Apple would not allow Spotify to have an Apple Watch app or work with Siri.
As I recently shared, competition pushes us to evolve and improve both the customer and creator experience.