Spotify head wants UK to show leadership and stop Apple's App Store dominance

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has been lobbying the UK government, saying it should use its freedom from the EU to enact tough new laws to end Apple's dominance with the App Store.

Spotify's Daniel Ek
Spotify's Daniel Ek



Ek's lobbying comes as the UK considers a Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill. Amongst other things, the bill might mean the country's Digital Markets Unit would be granted authority and powers -- three years after it was set up.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Ek said that this was the time for the UK to step up, since it had left the European Union and was not bound by the laws of the vastly larger and more influential EU. The EU has already enacted a Digital Markets Act, and was key in Apple's decision to replace Lightning with USB-C in the iPhone 15 range.

Still, Ek insists that "[the] UK can be nimble right now and show leadership."

"The UK is now setting its own agenda [following Brexit]," he continued.

"I find it insane that [Apple and Google] essentially control how over 4bn consumers access the internet around the world," he said. "Not only are they dictating the rules, they also compete directly downstream with those providers."

Apple competes with Spotify through its Apple Music streaming service, but Ek has been arguing that Apple's offering doesn't have to pay the same 30% as other apps in the App Store. Spotify does not pay 30%, either.

In his Financial Times interview, Ek said that actually it's not the cost of using the App Store that is the problem. Rather it's that Apple is a gatekeeper, while also offering competing services.

"Imagine that this was a mall and literally half of the UK population is in this mall," said Ek. "That's where [having to pay App Store fees] becomes anti-competitive."

"This is for every single developer," he continued. "More and more of these developers are now finding that Apple is a competitor."

Separately, in July 2023, Spotify cut off all subscribers who were paying for the service via the App Store.

The UK voted to leave the EU in 2016. As well as failing to make its own COVID app after spending $15.6 million on the project, its efforts to control Big Tech since leaving most recently include it having backed down from an unenforceable online safety law.

In 2022, the UK did state that it would not be copying the EU's mandate for a common USB-C charger, except where it would, in Northern Ireland. The UK appeared to believe that Apple could therefore continue selling iPhones with Lightning connectors.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    Spotify is in a business with razor thin margins.  Ek and Spotify entered into that business and the only way to change that arrangement lies with Spotify and the record labels.  Constantly attacking Apple isn't going to change that fact, since it's not doing anything illegal.

    Spotify has already tried to develop services to supplement its music business the same way that Apple and Amazon have.  They have just been less successful at it.  Maybe more time in business development and less time in court and lobbying legislatures would help.
    Bart YKierkegaarden2morrowbaconstangjahbladeFileMakerFellerdanoxwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 19
    If you can't win in the marketplace, you can always find desperate politicians trying to distract from their own policy failures to do your dirty work for you. 
    williamlondonBart YKierkegaardenbaconstangmacxpressjahbladeplanetary paulFileMakerFellerdanoxbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 3 of 19
    The App Store model was based on what already existed on gaming consoles. The same company that created the hardware and OS for the console was also in control of the rules for how software could be released for the platform. The console maker would take a cut from 3rd party games and also release its own competing 1st party games. And gaming is the #1 revenue generator on iOS by a wide margin so it’s an appropriate parallel.

    Point being that Apple didn’t set out to create a new anticompetitive business model. They used a model that was generally accepted in the gaming market and had also been upheld in an antitrust court case that involved Nintendo. 
    williamlondonBart YKierkegaarden2morrowbaconstangFileMakerFellerdanoxwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 19
    mayflymayfly Posts: 385member
    Who needs Spotify for anything? Just pony up and subscribe to Apple Music and resign redundant apps to the dustbin of history.
    Bart Ymacxpresswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 19
    For the mall analogy, when and where is a mall free for the stores selling their products? 
    KierkegaardenbaconstangFileMakerFellercitpekswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 19
    payecopayeco Posts: 580member
    Can’t wait to never have to hear from this whiney little asshole ever again. 
    williamlondonbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 19
    "I find it insane that [Apple and Google] essentially control how over 4bn consumers access the internet around the world," he said. 

    I find it insane that the CEO of a public company is this dumb.  How are Apple and Google “controlling” access to the internet?  They have their own app stores, and they control those — as they should, being the proprietors of those stores.

    Why doesn’t the CEO focus on making some kind of profit for his company and spend less time pissing and moaning about the success of other companies?  Without them, he wouldn’t even have a business.  Apple created the app economy leading to the scale we see today — you exist because of them.
    edited October 2023 stompywilliamlondonbaconstangravnorodomwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 8 of 19
    mayflymayfly Posts: 385member
    "I find it insane that [Apple and Google] essentially control how over 4bn consumers access the internet around the world," he said. 

    I find it insane that the CEO of a public company is this dumb.  How are Apple and Google “controlling” access to the internet?  They have their own app stores, and they control those — as they should, being the proprietors of those stores.

    Why doesn’t this douchbag focus on making some kind of profit for his company and spend less time pissing and moaning about the success of other companies?  Without them, he wouldn’t even have a business.  Apple created the app economy leading to the scale we see today — you exist because of them.  Pay to play, you ignorant wanker.
    Because that's the American (and capitalist) Way. If you can't compete, sue!
    edited October 2023 watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 19
    mobirdmobird Posts: 749member
    Back to the mall, no one in the mall was forced to be there, they were there by choice based on their own decision.

    Just like the millions who choose to go the iOS route instead of Android.
    williamlondonbaconstangwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 10 of 19
    Imagine that this was a mall and literally half of the UK population is in this mall

    This doesn’t even make sense. The mall in this analogy would be the iOS platform, and the stores inside would be the apps. The owner of the mall gets to decide what rent is and who they want to rent to. Maybe some companies think the rent is too high. But there are other malls (platforms) that exist which anyone is free to go to. And anyone is free to build their own mall, just as they are free to build their own platform. It would take a lot of work and money to do it, but that fact doesn’t mean existing malls are anticompetitive. Apple themselves has spent billions of dollars developing and growing and supporting their platform. And there was nothing that guaranteed the iPhone and the App Store would be successful. 

    What Ek is saying is essentially that it’s unfair for Apple to be successful and to decide what happens on their own platform. Spotify wants all the benefits of Apple’s platform without contributing anything. How much money does Apple spend on developing all the APIs that Spotify uses? Does Ek believe every developer is entitled to use them for free (or an essentially nominal $99/year)?

    If forced to allow other App Stores, Apple should a) charge a license fee to use its APIs and b) require developers to choose to be in the App Store or a third party one, not both.

    citpekswatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 19
    Ek wants to switch the framing from digital (a game market) to a brick and mortar one (a mall) because it benefits him, despite the fact that it’s an inappropriate comparison. Mall owners don’t typically open stores that are direct competitors. However, they do typically own more than one property and are known to lock out businesses they don’t like. It’s just such a bad analogy overall.

    Anyway, digital marketplaces are unique in that there’s no limit on how many products or producers you can have present, which creates the discoverability and ratings problems.

    Apple could resolve this landlord/competitor issue by simply not charging anything to direct competitors — I believe the current rules and carve-outs pretty much accomplish this already. Ek is probably bunched up because he’d like Spotify to be a default install like Music is. Or Apple could have a mini-store for its products that’s in its own enclave, a la Arcade. Then only third party apps are on the App Store.

    Either way, I don’t see Apple apps as anti-competitive, I see them as a bulwark against large monopolistic developers ever again screwing Apple over the way they did in the ‘90s and ‘00s.

    I mean let’s face it — if not for Apple’s pioneering work on the iPod and iPhone (and iTunes) for paid music  (and Android’s copycatting) Spotify as we know it would not exist. 
    edited October 2023 thtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 19
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,268member
    Just for a second I was hoping that “stopping Apple’s App Store dominance “ would somehow involve a UK tech company creating a competing App Store and ecosystem. 

    But alas, just another attempt to use local regulators to legislate a competitor out of business or cripple them because your own businesses are too lazy or incompetent or inept to compete based on their own innovation, skills, and business prowess. 

    Since when did the fear of competition become a form of leadership? 

    Totally lame. Again. 
    edited October 2023 danoxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 19
    Ek: "Come on, bro! This is a chance to show the EU that you left because you wanted to do things the right way, not their way!"

    UK: "You're from the EU, right? P*** off."
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 19

    Separately, in July 2023, Spotify cut off all subscribers who were paying for the service via the App Store.

    Because Apple is the only corporation with monopoly power and thus the opportunity to restrict consumer choice. Got it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 19
    LeoMCLeoMC Posts: 102member
    How about forcing Google to integrate my search algorithm in its search engine as an option; or maybe force Microsoft to integrate my writing processor in its Office suite; how about forcing Amazon to [also] use my servers as cloud hosting and last but not least, how about forcing Spotify to push my ads to their customers?
    This is getting ridiculous; Apple ecosystem and products are not mandatory, are not essential to human social, political and personal activities (everyone can very much use a Nokia 3310 phone to communicate and a laptop with Linux to access banking apps, government sites, electronically sign documents, read the news, watch TV or a Samsung, Motorola, Huawei etc device) and Apple only has a small portion of the total market.
    Just make something better and I am the first to use it (because why not use something better?)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 19

    Because that's the American (and capitalist) Way. If you can't compete, sue!
    What does Spotify have to do with the US ?? I thought they were a Swedish company ?
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 19
    What Spotify CEO saying is he wants 20+ million bonus or salary raise but he can't due to Apple ate his lunch.
    edited October 2023 watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 19
    davidwdavidw Posts: 2,025member
    >"Imagine that this was a mall and literally half of the UK population is in this mall," said Ek. "That's where [having to pay App Store fees] becomes anti-competitive."<

     So someone builds a mall that can hold half the population of the UK (Apple/Google) and half the population of the UK are attracted to and are in the mall. So some idiot (Ek) thinks they should be able to set up a store in the mall, in order to sell their products to the half the population of the UK that are already wandering in mall ........... without paying the mall owner any rent?

     Did Spotify help pay for any of the 10's of billions of dollars (mostly likely over $100B) that Apple and Google have invested, that makes it possible for idiots like Ek to easily market and sell his products to over 4B people from around the World, that are owners of just a single handheld device? And then the idiot bitch about Apple and Google not having to pay a commission (to themselves) as though they are getting a free ride?
    edited October 2023 watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 19
    mayflymayfly Posts: 385member

    Separately, in July 2023, Spotify cut off all subscribers who were paying for the service via the App Store.

    Because Apple is the only corporation with monopoly power and thus the opportunity to restrict consumer choice. Got it.
    LOL! I won't need an iron(y) supplement today. Thanks!
    watto_cobra
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