Tuesday 25 June 2019 2:11 pm

Apple says Spotify exaggerated user fee claims


Technology editor, covering all things tech, fintech and venture capital. You can reach me on Twitter via @emilyjnicolle, or email me at: emily.nicolle@cityam.com

Technology editor, covering all things tech, fintech and venture capital. You can reach me on Twitter via @emilyjnicolle, or email me at: emily.nicolle@cityam.com

Apple has responded to a complaint by Spotify to the EU commission, stating it only collects a fee on less than one per cent of the music streaming platform’s userbase.

Apple said in a filing Spotify pays a 15 per cent fee on about 680,000 of its 100m premium customers.

It follows a complaint by Spotify chief Daniel Ek in March which blasted Apple for levying a 30 per cent commission on in-app purchases taken out via its App Store. The fee drops to 15 per cent after one year.

Read more: Spotify reports Apple to EU Commission over unfair app rules

Apple said none of Spotify’s premium users currently pay the 30 per cent tier, as Spotify ceased collecting subscription payments through the App Store in 2016.

Spotify’s complaint to regulators also included allegations beyond Apple’s fees, including steps that Spotify said Apple took after it quit using the App Store’s payment mechanism.

The company pointed to tightened App Store rules after 2016 that bar developers from providing links or buttons to external web pages showing users how to pay for an upgrade to premium subscription outside the App Store.

However Spotify is not the only complainant against Apple’s App Store and alleged anti-competitive practices.

Read more: US Supreme Court rules against Apple in App Store antitrust dispute

In May, the US Supreme Court ruled against Apple in a lawsuit brought by consumers which accused the firm of creating a monopoly via its commission charges.

The Cupertino tech firm said it was only acting as an agent on behalf of app developers, which set their own prices and pay Apple the commission charges. It also argued the ruling could pose a threat to the e-commerce sector.


Noting that they pay Apple – not a developer – when they buy an app in the App Store, the iPhone users said they were the direct victims of the overcharges. Apple argued the consumers were indirect purchasers, because any overcharge would be passed on to them by developers.

Developers earned more than $26bn (£20bn) in 2017, a 30 per cent increase over 2016, according to Apple.

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