Spotify’s whining could spark antitrust probe of Apple

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Spotify vs. Apple
The war between Spotify and Apple Music is heating up.
Photo: Spotify

Is Apple using its control of the App Store to squeeze out rivals? That’s the question European competition regulators are looking into.

This news comes after Spotify complained that it is nti-competitive that this company is  required to give Apple a big share of subscription fees paid through the App Store.

“We take the complaint of Spotify very seriously,” EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager sold the German-language Tagesspiegel. “We are now considering whether this is a case for us, the European competition regulator.”

Spotlight on Spotify

Apple Music and Spotify are battling it out in the streaming music business. And the iPhone maker has a big advantage: its rival must fork over 30 percent of its subscription fees that go through the App Store. The requirement drops to 15 percent the second year. This has forced Spotify to give Apple approximately $156 million in the post four years, according to Business Insider.

That’s why Spotify no longer allows customers to subscribe through the App Store. Netflix also recently went this route so it could stop funneling money to a company that’s about to become one of its top rivals.

Beyond that, Spotify told the European Commission that Apple has put roadblocks in front of it. Updates have supposedly been blocked, and Spotify can’t access the Siri virtual assistant.

”Apple is both the owner of the iOS platform and its App Store and a competitor to services like Spotify. In theory, this is fine,” said Spotify CEO and co-founder Daniel Ek during a speech yesterday to the International Conference on Competition in Berlin. “But in Apple’s case, they continue to give themselves an unfair advantage at every turn, setting themselves up to be both referee and player in the world of audio streaming. This deliberately hurts Apple’s competitors, like Spotify, but even more importantly, it harms consumers.”

U.S. presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren also weighed in.“Spotify’s complaint is just the latest example of what can happen when these enormous companies abuse their power to undermine competition,” Warren told the New York Times. Last week, the senator proposed breaking up Apple.