Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Renews Apple Criticism, Regulatory Push: ‘Talk Is Helpful But We Need Action’

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Amid Twitter owner Elon Musk’s much-publicized spat with Apple, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has renewed his own criticism of the Cupertino-headquartered company, and specifically the fees that developers must pay on the App Store.

39-year-old Daniel Ek, who personally traveled to Brussels earlier this year in an attempt to “accelerate” the EU’s Apple antitrust investigation, reiterated his disapproval of the iPhone developer in a series of 21 tweets today. For reference, Spotify has long taken aim at the business practices of Apple, which head of global affairs Horacio Gutierrez last year described as a “ruthless bully” infected by a “monopolist worm.”

As part of the years-running dispute, Spotify in early 2019 submitted the aforesaid EU antitrust complaint before uniting Apple’s critics (Fortnite developer Epic Games chief among them) under a campaign called the “Coalition for App Fairness” in September of 2020. Moreover, execs at the Stockholm-based streaming service downplayed App Store concessions made by Apple in 2021 as “a step in the right direction” that nevertheless failed to “solve the problem.”

Meanwhile, Musk this week drew attention to the “real problem” posed by Apple after an exec deleted his Twitter account and the business allegedly threatened to remove Twitter from the App Store altogether.

“Apple has also threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why,” the Twitter head penned earlier this week, having since followed the post with additional firmly worded comments. “Did you know Apple puts a secret 30% tax on everything you buy through their App Store?”

Needless to say, the latter post in particular spurred further conversation about App Store fees and appeared to set the stage for Ek’s initially mentioned 21-tweet chain, which includes a direct response to the message.

In summary, each of Ek’s firmly worded posts (“Apple acts in self interest but also doesn’t seem to care about the law or courts”) replies to a tweet or a website containing supplementary information about the multifaceted dispute, including Spotify’s “Time to Play Fair” and the Coalition for App Fairness.

From there, the all-encompassing tweets highlight the aforementioned EU antitrust investigation, the Spotify-Apple audiobook dustup, Epic Games’ above-noted qualms with Apple, purported White House support for antitrust legislation against big tech, and the bipartisan support behind a bill that would regulate both the App Store and the Play Store.

“So how much longer will we look away from this threat to the future of the internet? How many more consumers will be denied choice? There’s been a lot of talk. Talk is helpful but we need action,” Ek finished, tagging the handles of the Commerce Department, the European Commission, and Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager in conclusion.