Apple is preparing itself for a formal antitrust investigation by the EU following Spotify’s official complaint, The Financial Times reports. Spotify in its complaint in March said that Apple uses its Apple Store to restrict consumer choice in an effort to gain more traction on its own Apple Music service.
Against this background, the EU polled customers, competitors, and significant others before initiating a formal investigation. In response to Spotify’s move, Apple said in a statement that Spotify wouldn’t be where it is today without the Apple Store ecosystem. “Apple connects Spotify to our users. We provide the platform by which users download and update their app.”
Apple shares important software tools to support Spotify’s app building, it said. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said that he is particularly concerned with Apple Tax where the company takes a 30 percent cut on every subscription signed up through the Apple Store during the first year and 15 percent from the following year onward. He said in a blog post, “If we pay this tax, it would force us to artificially inflate the price of our Premium membership well above the price of Apple Music.” That said, not paying the tax would result in a ‘series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions on Spotify’.
Ek also added that Apple has blocked Spotify from creating a good customer experience with upgrades related to Siri, HomePod, and Apple Watch.
If the EU finds Apple’s move to be unlawful it could impose a fine up to 10 percent of the company’s global revenue.