It’s not just Elon Musk using Twitter to complain about Apple (even if Tim Cook is now his new bestie): Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has tweeted a lengthy thread about his views on the Cupertino company.

He claims that Apple doesn’t care about consumers, courts, or the law – only its own interests …

Background

Spotify is unhappy with what it considers to be unfair competition from Apple Music. It says that while Apple can offer subscriptions within the app without any penalty, Spotify would have to give Apple 30% (or 15% from year two) of its subscription revenue if it did the same. This would be impossible given the tiny margins on which streaming music services operate.

The company filed an antitrust complaint against Apple back in 2019, in Europe.

Spotify targets Apple’s 30% cut — it refers to as a ‘tax’ — as a key element of its complaint but also references rules about how Apple restricts third-party app developers from communicating with customers. Ultimately, Spotify wants Apple Music to be forced to abide by the same rules that Apple imposes on third-party apps.

Spotify says Apple is giving itself an “unfair advantage at every turn”. Citing a failure to resolve its issues with Apple directly, it is turning to legal action with a formal complaint to the European Commission.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek’s tweet-storm

Ek opens by referencing the complaint, and echoing the claims made within it.

Four years ago, we filed a complaint detailing @Apple’s anticompetitive practices.

Over and over again @Apple gives itself every advantage while at the same time stifling innovation and hurting consumers. Apple acts in self interest but also doesn’t seem to care about the law or courts, or for consumer choice.

He posts a series of links in support of his views, including one from the European Commission which reached a preliminary view that Apple was in breach of European competition law.

Amusingly, he also links to Musk’s tweet in which he claims that Apple’s 30% App Store commission is “a secret.”

Unsurprisingly, he also cites the Coalition for App Fairness, which he helped create, and quotes Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney.

At the most basic level, we’re fighting for the freedom of people who bought smartphones to install apps from sources of their choosing, the freedom for creators of apps to distribute them as they choose, and the freedom of both groups to do business directly.

Both Epic and Apple are awaiting the outcome of their respective arguments in the recent appeal hearing.

Ek links to bipartisan attempts by the Senate to introduce robust US antitrust regulation, and White House support for this.

Ek ends by saying that there’s been a lot of talk about tech antitrust measures, but little action.

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.

Apple continues to face antitrust pressures on a range of issues, most recently over cloud gaming and its mobile browser policy.

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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