Earlier this year, Spotify made an official complaint to the European Commission (the EU’s competition and consumer arm) regarding Apple and its alleged anti-competitive practices, and now a report from the Financial Times (opens in new tab) is suggesting that the case will be investigated.
In particular, Spotify has complained (opens in new tab) about the App Store’s apparent discrimination against, and suppression of, music streaming services that compete with Apple Music and are hosted on the service.
Apple’s current model for its App Store is to take a 30% cut of all subscriptions purchased through its platform, which in turn would artificially inflate the cost of a Premium Spotify account above that of an Apple Music subscription, according to Spotify CEO and founder Daniel Ek.
Ek also claims that if his company were to forego the use of Apple’s payment system, it “then applies a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions on Spotify,” such as limiting communication with customers, blocking upgrades, and not allowing compatibility with such devices and services as HomePod, Siri, and Apple Watch.
Apple has made a somewhat barbed response (opens in new tab) to the complaint, largely rejecting the claims and accusing Spotify of being financially-driven:
“After using the App Store for years to dramatically grow their business, Spotify seeks to keep all the benefits of the App Store ecosystem – including the substantial revenue that they draw from the App Store’s customers – without making any contributions to that marketplace,” Apple claims.
“At the same time, they distribute the music you love while making ever-smaller contributions to the artists, musicians and songwriters who create it – even going so far as to take these creators to court.”
According the the Times’ sources, an investigation will commence in the next few weeks, but there’s no guarantee that the findings will fall in Spotify’s favor. If they do, however, we could potentially see more affordable Spotify subscriptions via the App Store, along with other competing streaming services.