Spotify vs. Apple battle heats up, with call for ‘swift and decisive’ regulatory action


Heat was added to the Spotify vs. Apple battle today, when seven other companies and organizations co-signed a letter calling for “swift and decisive” regulatory action to be taken against the Cupertino company.

Spotify told the European Commission that it has been almost four years since the company filed an antitrust complaint against Apple, and accused the commission’s executive VP and former competition regulator of “failing to act decisively” …

Spotify vs. Apple battle

Spotify is unhappy with what it considers to be unfair competition from Apple Music. It says that while Apple can offer subscriptions within the app without any penalty, Spotify would have to give Apple 30% (or 15% from year two) of its subscription revenue if it did the same. This would be impossible given the tiny margins on which streaming music services operate.

The company filed an antitrust complaint against Apple back in 2019, in Europe.

The commission reached a preliminary conclusion that Spotify was right, and that Apple was likely in breach of European competition law, but a final decision has not yet been announced.

Call for urgent action

The open letter was addressed to the European Commission’s executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager. It was signed by the CEOs and senior execs of digital organizations representing publishing, audio streaming, web software, communications, and marketplaces.

  • Basecamp
  • Deezer
  • Proton
  • Schibsted
  • Spotify
  • European Publishers Council
  • France Digitale
  • News Media Europe

The letter reiterates Spotify’s complaint.

For years, Apple has imposed unfair restrictions on our businesses. These restrictions hamper our development and harm European consumers. They include the tying of the App Store to Apple’s proprietary payment system, with its excessive commissions for app developers; the creation of artificial obstacles that prevent our businesses from freely communicating with our customers; restrictions to developers’ access to data of their own users; and capricious changes to terms and conditions. Apple benefits from a monopoly position over its mobile ecosystem and extracts exorbitant rents from app developers who have no choice but to remain on the App Store to reach European consumers.

It goes on to say that a rapid decision is now needed.

We are writing to you to call for swift and decisive action by the European Commission against anticompetitive and unfair practices by certain global digital gatekeepers, and Apple in particular […]

The time has come for urgent action from the EU to end Apple’s abusive behaviours. The EU has the opportunity to take the lead, but it must act fast as every day that passes is a loss for innovation and for the welfare of European consumers.

We therefore call for a rapid decision in the competition case against Apple for its illegal, anti competitive behaviour involving music streaming services.

Spotify says that the Digital Markets Act (DMA) also needs to be enforced against Apple, and accuses Apple of making misleading claims about security rather than profit being its motive.

Photo: Felipepelaquim/Unsplash

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Spotify vs. Apple battle heats up, with call for ‘swift and decisive’ regulatory action

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