Apple has defended itself against accusations of unfair competition from Spotify by claiming that the Swedish company only pays the so-called “app fee” on applications downloaded through its online store in less than 1% of its users.
The firm of Cupertino (California, USA) thus responded to the lawsuit that Spotify filed in March before the European Commission (EC), in which it accuses it of hindering competition through its control of the App Store and the fees it charges for making purchases through that online store. As Apple told European regulators on Monday, the streaming music platform currently only pays a 15% fee on about 680,000 subscribers with premium accounts (less than 1% of the total of 100 million customers that Spotify has in this mode).
With the publication of these figures, Apple tries to soften to the accusations of Spotify and the impact that its rate may be having on free competition, while lowering the percentage of the rate, since Spotify estimated it at 30% and they put it at 15%.
This difference can be explained by the fact that since 2016 Apple “only” charges 15% for subscriptions that have been active for more than one year, compared to 30% for the first twelve months, and Spotify subscriptions were only available through the App Store payment system between 2014 and 2016. The 680,000 Spotify users who pay their subscription through the App Store, therefore, are all prior to 2016, and as they have been using the product for more than twelve months, the rate Apple applies is 15% and not 30%. However, if Spotify decides to re-offer subscriptions through Apple’s online store, the rate that would apply to these new purchases would be 30% for the first twelve months, as supported by the lawsuit filed with the European Commission.
Filing the EC complaint in March, the CEO and founder of the Swedish company, Daniel Ek, noted that Apple has introduced rules in its app store that “purposely limit choice and stifle innovation, acting “as a player and arbiter” to take advantage over other app developers.