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Spotify Files Complaint With European Commission Over Apple’s App Store Restrictions

Spotify Files Complaint With European Commission Over Apple’s App Store Restrictions

Apple Music competitor Spotify has filed a complaint with the European Commission, claiming Apple isn’t sharing customer information with vendors, takes a bigger cut of the action than they should, and unfairly limits third-party access to Apple Watch, Siri, HomePod and other Apple-owned technologies.


Spotify has filed an official anti-competition complaint about Apple with the European Commission. The company, which competes directly with Apple Music, alleges that Apple is artificially limiting innovation and constraining user choice by refusing to allow Spotify and other firms access to technology and information via the App Store.

The complaint was announced on the company’s blog, in a post written by Spotify founder Danial Ek.

“Apple is both the owner of the iOS platform and the App Store —and a competitor to services like Spotify. In theory, this is fine. But in Apple’s case, they continue to give themselves an unfair advantage at every turn,” Ek said. “After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, we’re now requesting that the EC take action to ensure fair competition.”

Ek described the 30% commission taken by Apple on in-app purchases made in apps from the App Store as a “tax.” Ek said the tax forces the service to “artificially inflate the price of our Premium membership well above the price of Apple Music.”

“If we choose not to use Apple’s payment system,” he continues, “Apple then applies a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions on Spotify. Over time, this has included locking Spotify and other competitors out of Apple services such as Siri, HomePod and Apple Watch.”

Spotify’s Apple Watch app is currently limited to acting as a remote control for music being played on the iPhone or Spotify Connect devices, not on the Watch itself.

Although Spotify hasn’t published a copy of the complaint it sent to the EC, but has listed what it would like to see happen.

  • 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.

Apple hasn’t publicly comment on the matter.