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Spotify CEO Slams Apple, Says Company is 'Doing Serious Harm' and 'Choking Competition' The streaming giant and CEO Daniel EK are up in arms with Apple over a contentious clause that is affecting Spotify's ability to sell audiobooks to subscribers.

By Emily Rella

It's the battle of the streaming giants, and Spotify is not holding back against what it feels is reflective of Apple's "anti-competitive behavior."

Spotify has been unhappy with Apple's policy of charging a 30% app store fee for in-app service transactions. While this might not seem like something that would affect Spotify — since the app is primarily a subscription-based streaming service that allows users to stream unlimited amounts of podcasts and music — it halts Spotify's ability to have users purchase audiobooks without having to give a 30% cut to Apple.

Since audiobooks are not free, it makes it impossible for Spotify to offer the selection to subscribers without having to give Apple the fee on iOS, as Spotify is downloaded through Apple's App Store. Since Apple has control of its App Store, it is able to sell books to customers through Apple Books on iOS.

"The Audiobooks purchase flow that Apple's rules force us to provide consumers today is far too complicated and confusing — confusing because they change the rules arbitrarily, making them impossible to interpret," Spotify said in a press release aimed directly at Apple. "Bottom line, we're forced to make users work even harder to listen to an audiobook. This harms not only consumers but, this time, also authors and publishers who now find themselves under Apple's thumb."

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek also noted that the streaming giant filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission but has yet to receive a decision on the matter, saying that Apple is "doing serious harm" and "choking competition."

"Apple has shown time and again that it will not self-regulate and has no real incentive to change," Ek said. "With our Audiobooks launch, Apple has once again proven just how brazen it is willing to be with its App Store rules, constantly shifting the goalposts to disadvantage their competitors."

Spotify has even launched a complaint campaign against Apple, dubbed "Time to Play Fair," in an attempt to bring awareness to the issue and warn customers of why the user experience using audiobooks may be less than ideal.

The issue does not seem to be mitigating any time soon, as Spotify's lead competition lawyer, Harry Clarke, told CNN on Tuesday that the company plans to "continue to amplify this issue to help people understand the negative impact Apple's policies are having."

Apple did not publicly respond to Spotify's latest release.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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