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Spotify accuses Apple of 'unfair' practices

Spotify Technology SA filed an anti-competition complaint against Apple Inc. with the European Commission.

Daniel Ek, the company's chairman and CEO, accused Apple of introducing "unfair" rules to the App Store that limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of user experience, according to a March 13 official blog post. Ek added that Spotify complained after being unable to resolve the issue with Apple directly.

Ek claimed that Spotify would be forced to increase prices because of a 30% tax that Spotify and other digital services are required to pay using Apple's system, including when Spotify users upgrade from Free to Premium packages.

Ek claimed that Apple can convince companies to pay that tax by applying a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions, such as limiting communication with customers. Ek noted that in some cases Spotify is not even allowed to send emails to customers.

Ek also accused Apple of routinely blocking the company's experience-enhancing upgrades and locking Spotify and other competitors out of Apple services such as Siri, HomePod and Apple Watch.

Ek asked Apple to provide the same treatment to Spotify that it offers to other apps on the App Store that are not subject to the Apple tax. Specifically, Ek demanded that all apps should be subjected to the same set of rules and restrictions and that consumers should have a real choice of payment systems and should not be locked in or "forced to use systems with discriminatory tariffs such as Apple's."

Ek also wants app stores to no longer control the communications between services and users.

Apple has yet to respond to a request for comments.