Spotify and Apple Music do the same thing. Yes, of course, with the due and profound differences. The first has a so-called freemium version, the second does not. Different settings, logics and details.
93 million paying users for the Daniel Ek app with 203 million in total, over 50 for that of Cupertino. But in essence they are both platforms for listening to streaming music. Too bad that the first has existed since 2008 and the second since 2015. But also that the second is the creature of the colossus through which the first one also passes, at least as regards the slice of iPhone users. A bottleneck that led the English-speaking group to present a complaint to the European Union for unfair competition.
The thesis is simple. According to Spotify, Apple would orchestrate the mechanisms of its Store to favour its application both for research and contacts with its users and for the 30% commission to be paid when a free iPhone user becomes premium, that is, subscribe to a 9.99 subscription Euro per month.
An excessive tax that in fact forced the most popular platform in the past to raise the price of the service for those who subscribed via the App Store up to 12.99 Euro and to advise interested parties to subscribe – or cancel and re-subscribe – by going to their site. All with the aim of recovering those 3 Euro a month. In return, however, Apple would on several occasions have limited a number of actions by the company such as user communications or timely updates to the app.
The decision was announced by the same managing director and founder Daniel Ek in a short post emblematically entitled Consumers and innovators must play with the same rules . “Apple recently introduced rules in the App Store that limit the choice and hinder innovation to the detriment of the consumer experience, taking the field both as a competitor and as arbitrator to deliberately disadvantage high developers”. The request to the European Commission? No special treatment. Only the same applied to other platforms like Uber or Deliveroo to which Apple does not ask that 30%.
Three central points according to the 36-year-old Swedish entrepreneur. First: same rules for everyone. Second: availability and choice of multiple payment methods also within the App Store. Third: end of Apple’s control of communications between app developers and end users.
The founder of Spotify also explained that he tried several times to resolve the situation directly with Apple, without success. Meanwhile, a European Commission spokesman confirmed that he had received the document and that the evaluation “based on our standards” would have already begun. Although with the European elections on the doorstep, it is likely that it will be discussed again in a few months.