After a decade of worsening relations with Apple, Swedish music streaming giant Spotify took the extraordinary step today of filing a formal antitrust complaint with the European Commission, “after trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple,” according to CEO Daniel Ek.

Apple controls what’s allowed into its app store and how those programs can interact with its users, but it also competes with streaming music providers directly via Apple Music.

This central tension gives Tim Cook’s behemoth what Ek calls “an unfair advantage at every turn”—whether by disallowing apps from promoting discounts, or by imposing the so-called “Apple tax.”

Revenue generated by premium users who paid for the ad-free tier of Spotify through the app store, according to Ek, was subsidising Apple with 30 per cent of that fee.

The scale of the “Apple tax,” he claims, forced his company to raise prices above the intended monthly fee at the same time that Apple itself was launching a competing service at that price point.

He further claims that this tax isn’t even applied across the board—singling out Uber and Deliveroo as examples of free riders.

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