We have lost count of the times Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, has criticized Apple (and other companies like Google) for one reason or another. This time, it happened in the UK, with the intention of supporting legislation that could potentially benefit the Swedish company.
Comments that only take into account one side of the story
Daniel has stated in an interview with the Financial Times that Apple and Google “control how over 4 billion people access the internet around the world,” a statement that could be subject to debate, and that “they dictate the rules and compete with other providers.”
“Imagine we have a shopping mall, and literally half of the population of the UK is in this shopping mall,” said Daniel, adding that companies directly competing with Apple are forced to pay commissions for in-app sales. “That’s where it becomes anti-competitive.”
Let’s extrapolate the analogy to a shopping mall. Let’s talk about Carrefour, for example. When you enter one of these supermarkets, you see Carrefour-branded products first. It’s normal; it’s their space, and they have every right to promote their products. However, you also see products from other brands, which pay a price to be there because they recognize the value and visibility that space provides them.
But when we go back to the App Store, the situation still needs to be outlined. Remember that Apple allows reading apps like Spotify to offer a link to their own website where users can sign up and manage payment methods. Payments for which Apple doesn’t charge any commission.
Spotify has criticized Apple’s App Store policies for years, claiming that the company has an unfair advantage over the competition. But there’s something Spotify seems to overlook: Apple offers tools and opportunities for third-party developers to better integrate into the ecosystem. A clear example is the Siri API for HomePod, which Apple released in 2020.
Spotify could have integrated it a long time ago, providing a much smoother experience for its users through HomePod, but it has chosen not to. While Apple had to take the lead in this regard, the question is, why? Why not use all the available tools to improve and offer the best possible service to its users?
While Daniel Ek continues his crusade against Apple, and Spotify reportedly has a price set for its HiFi subscription tier, which might be more expensive than Netflix in 4K, it’s worth remembering that there are two sides to every coin. Apple has built an ecosystem with the App Store, and it seems clear that they have every right to profit from it just like any other virtual or physical store. We’ll see where Spotify’s increasingly repetitive comments lead.