Published: May 6, 2020 1:15:18 pm
Spotify Technology SA Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek said he expects Apple Inc to further open up its platform a year after the Stockholm-based music streaming company filed an antitrust complaint with the European Union.
“Long term, we do expect Apple to open up,” Ek said in an interview with Bloomberg TV that aired on Tuesday. Spotify has criticized Apple for taking a 30 per cent cut of subscriptions and accused it of limiting app updates and preventing functionality on the Apple Watch and Siri. In the EU complaint filed last year, Spotify said Apple is a platform provider and a competitor, giving it an incentive to disadvantage rival services.
Since then, Apple has slightly opened up, rolling out a feature for Siri last year that lets the digital assistant control music services other than Apple’s own. Spotify also released an updated Apple Watch app and Apple TV app in recent months.
“We’re very encouraged about being able to now finally use Siri as a way of building in voice support and also being available to build products for the Apple TV and Apple Watch, something that we haven’t been able to do until very recently,” Ek said in the interview. It’s unclear if Spotify was actually prevented from launching an Apple TV app as the platform has had other music services for multiple years as App Store apps.
Ek previously said that Apple’s restrictions had “a big business impact.”
Apple responded last year to the complaint, saying the App Store contributed to Spotify becoming successful. “The majority of customers use their free, ad-supported product, which makes no contribution to the App Store,” Apple said last March. “Even now, only a tiny fraction of their subscriptions fall under Apple’s revenue-sharing model. Spotify is asking for that number to be zero.”
While Apple now provides Siri support for Spotify, it still doesn’t let users run third-party music apps on its HomePod speaker or change the default music app on iOS and iPadOS, the software that runs on the iPhone and iPad. However, Apple plans to start letting services, including Spotify, run on the HomePod as soon as later this year.
“It’s moving in the right direction, but we still have many, many steps to go before” Spotify considers Apple “an open and fair platform,” Ek said.
Ek also reiterated his previous statements that he believes Spotify is growing faster than Apple Music, saying Spotify is twice the size of its nearest competitor and has three times the engagement.
Apple has taken additional steps in recent months to push back on claims that the App Store violates antitrust rules, including striking deals with video content providers like Amazon Prime to avoid the 30 per cent subscription fee.
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