Spotify Expects Apple to Further ‘Open Up’ Ecosystem After Antitrust Complaint with European Union


In an interview with Bloomberg, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek shared his expectations that Apple will further open up its ecosystem to competitors, after antitrust complaints were filed with the European Union. The complaints covered a number of issues including Apple's 30% subscription cut and limited functionality for third-party music apps on Apple Watch and Siri.

Because of the antitrust complaint with the EU, Spotify is looking for Apple to open up further.

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“Long term, we do expect Apple to open up,”

Since Spotify's complaint was filed, Apple has reduced restrictions for Apple Watch and Siri, and Spotify has launched app updates for these platforms. The company also released an app for Apple TV, although there were not many restrictions with the API for third-party apps on the platform as other competitors already had apps available on it.

Daniel Ek said that they are using Siri with their apps now, and have been able to build apps for Apple TV and Apple Watch. However, Apple TV did not really 'open up' and has the same APIs that were available before, so it's unclear what holding back the company.

“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."

For Apple Watch, Spotify's app now supports Siri. However, competitors like Pandora already support Siri, offline playback and streaming directly Apple Watch, features which Spotify just has not spent effort on. It goes on to show that the company has spent more time on complaints than working on actual feature support. Spotify for Apple Watch launched almost a year ago with a limited number of features. Spotify's Apple TV app launched back in October 2019, alongside Siri support for iOS 13.

One of the platforms, where Spotify still does not have feature parity with Apple Music, is HomePod. However, HomePod is not sold around the world, except for a few select markets, which should not have any considerable impact on Spotify's usage and revenue. Still, Apple should allow direct competitors to its services to have access to the same set of features, specially when it takes 30% off service subscriptions. Daniel Ek said that Apple is on the right path, but there is still more to be done.

“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,”

One of the steps that Apple will be taking with iOS 14 would be to allow users to change default apps. This would be a major advantage for developers who are unable to compete with Apple's first-party apps and services directly as they cannot be set as default on iOS and iPadOS.

Spotify expects Apple to not charge 30% subscription fees as most of the users on iOS use the free tier. The number of paid subscriptions is very less due to which it believes that it should not have to pay anything to Apple. Spotify had removed in-app subscriptions from its iOS app a while ago, and asks users to register using its desktop website, to comply with Apple's App Store policies. It is possible that Apple might settle on a deal with Spotify, as it did with Amazon Prime, where Amazon does not pay a subscription fee to the company.