Spotify is once again calling on Apple to face consequences for its role as an “internet gatekeeper.” This time, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek voiced his frustration in an interview with the Financial Times, calling on the UK government to “show leadership” and crack down on Apple and other companies.
One of the glaring holes in Ek’s comments, however, is that Spotify still doesn’t take full advantage of the tools Apple offers to help level the playing field…
In his comments, Ek accused Apple and Google of “essentially” controlling how “four billion consumers access the internet around the world.” Ek’s comments come as he’s in the UK to lobby for the Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumers Bill. As the Financial Times explains, this bill would “regulate competition in digital markets” and is currently in consideration by parliament.
The full quote is as follows:
“I find it insane that two companies [Apple and Google] essentially control how over 4bn consumers access the internet around the world. Not only are they dictating the rules, they also compete directly downstream with those providers.”
Ek says that the UK has the potential to “be nimble right now and show leadership” in going after Apple and Google. The country, in a post-Brexit world, has the ability to “[set] its own agenda” in this regard, Ek said.
“Imagine that this was a mall and literally half of the UK population is in this mall,” he said, adding that businesses competing directly with Apple were forced to pay commission on in-app sales. “That’s where it becomes anti-competitive.”
“This is for every single developer,” he said. “More and more of these developers are now finding that Apple is a competitor.”
Spotify has been a vocal critic of Apple’s App Store policies around the world, arguing that the company has an unfair advantage over competition. Its complaints generally focus primarily on Apple Music, but Ek’s comments today reveal that he’s also focused on the broader App Store ecosystem.
Apple is currently facing a probe in the EU as part of Spotify’s antitrust complaints. The impending Digital Markets Act in the EU could also force Apple to make bigger changes to the App Store and the iPhone, including opening the iPhone up to third-party app stores and side-loading.
Despite Spotify’s vocal criticism of Apple, the company doesn’t take full advantage of the tools Apple offers for third-party developers. For example, the company does not support the HomePod Siri music API, which launched in 2020.
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