Spotify Brings Antitrust Claim Against Apple

March 13, 2019 by Jon C. Ogg

It’s only been a few days that technology giants have had to hear about forcible break-ups. Now Spotify Technology S.A. (NYSE: SPOT) is making antitrust claims against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL).

Specifically, the leading independent music-streaming service has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in Europe. Spotify accuses Apple of abusing its dominance in the App Store to favor Apple Music in recent years over and at the expense of other streaming services.

Spotify claims that Apple made it difficult for streaming services competing with Apple Music to market themselves without using the Apple payment system. That system usually garners a 30% royalty or cut. Spotify also claims that Apple has at times rejected security updates of the Spotify app and had threatened to kick it off of the platform.

While this is antitrust action was filed in Europe, where regulators have been more amenable to handing out larger fines against U.S. tech giants, this salvo is likely to only add more to the conversation in the United States about how dominant technology giants have become. This is also not the first claim that Apple has abused its power over apps that run on iPhones, iPads and Macs.

Spotify was not trading up on the news, with its shares down marginally at $145.09, and Apple was up fractionally at $181.63 late Wednesday morning.

As a reminder, Spotify is technically based in Luxembourg. The service had some 207 million monthly active users at the end of 2018, with 96 million being premium subscribers located in 78 countries and territories.