Music-streaming service Spotify has filed a formal complaint against Apple this week, claiming that the iPhone maker has violated European Union competition rules by using numerous tactics to try and ice out competitors.
The music streaming service's founder and chief executive Daniel Ek accused Apple of introducing rules to the App Store that "purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience".
Spotify and Apple Music are the two major players in the streaming music market: While Spotify's global paid subscriber total of 96 million is almost double Apple Music's 50 million, it was reported last summer that Apple Music has more U.S. subscribers.
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 Music does not have to pay the Apple tax, so for the brief period where Spotify did use Apple's payment system they had to increase their price, which made Apple Music seem like the better deal. 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. ".If we choose not to use Apple's payment system, forgoing the charge, Apple then applies a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions on Spotify", he writes.
Spotify began emailing customers in 2015 that they should cancel subscriptions purchased through Apple's App Store. "After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, we're now requesting that the [European Commission] take action to ensure fair competition".
The iPhone maker has created an "untenable" situation by imposing ever-changing rules and a 30 percent tax for apps that compete with Apple Music, Spotify said in a statement on Wednesday.
Spotify wants Europe's competition watchdog to examine Apple for the way it runs the App Store.
Apple has been contacted for comment. But if it shuns Apple's payment system, Spotify alleges that Apple blocks app upgrades or stops it from working with Apple services like Siri assistant.
Apple Music costs 9.99 euros ($11.28) a month, the price Spotify charges for direct subscriptions to its own website and used to charge on the App Store before Apple imposed its own payment system and extra levy.
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. "We should all be subject to the same fair set of rules and restrictions, including Apple Music".
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