Over the past few years, it’s become abundantly clear that Apple tilts the playing field. It does this in favor of its own services in order to disadvantage rivals and make it harder for companies like Spotify—and so many others—to compete. This behavior harms consumers and app developers—and it stifles innovation from companies just trying to get off the ground.
This is about much more than just Spotify, which is why we have publicly advocated for platform fairness and pushed for expanded payment options, among other things, for a number of years. We are committed to fighting for fair competition, which, in turn, will unleash innovation as well as choice for consumers.
Today, we released a special episode of Spotify: For the Record featuring a chorus of voices who are as passionately focused as we are on creating a level playing field for all. Tune in to hear from our CEO, Daniel Ek; U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut); Agrin Health CEO Karen Thomas; Fanfix CEO Harry Gestetner; Schibsted CEO Kristin Skogen Lund; and ProtonMail CEO Andy Yen as they express their concerns about the impact of Apple’s unfair App Store rules on consumers and innovators alike and discuss the need for action.
Take a glimpse at what each of them had to say.
“Our view is quite simple. We think that there needs to be regulation in this space. We think it is one where it has to make it clear that you as a developer or a company should be able to interact with your consumers. You should have the ability to bring new innovations to the market on equal terms as the platforms themselves, and that there should be a choice for how these consumers should be able to pay for goods and services on these platforms. And that can’t be dictated by Apple.” – Daniel Ek, CEO, Spotify
“The news that Apple plans to let rival app stores operate on iPhones in Europe shows that the arguments against our bill were simply scare tactics designed to stop it, and that’s why we must pass it.” – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar
“At the end of the day, what I would ask Tim Cook is to please support my bill. If you’re not doing any of these bad things, why not support the bill? If you’re in favor of competition and innovation, support the bill. If you believe that there’s no unfair charges, or rents, or whatever—no copy and kill. Support the bill.” – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal
“It doesn’t matter if you’re Democrat, or Republican, or another party affiliation, app developers and innovators are saying we have an issue with market access and there is a way to solve this problem.” – U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn
“I think we have to re-envision what an app store is and the boundaries and the barriers that they put up in terms of gatekeepers . . . Status quo isn’t even an option anymore. We’re at a fork in the road. So either we pass this legislation and we send a signal to Apple and Google to say that monopoly won’t work—you’re going to have to behave better and participate in a free market—or we don’t.” – Karen Thomas, CEO, Agrin Health
“I do think the majority of Gen Z is probably pretty unaware, but it’s going to take things like this and small businesses speaking out, creators speaking out, waking consumers up to the fact that this is going on and this is impacting their daily lives.” – Harry Gestetner, co-CEO, Fanfix
“Probably almost the worst issue is that Apple blocks us from having access to data about our own customers. So that means we don’t know what kind of subscriptions our customers have bought via the Apple system. It means that we will either lose our business altogether or we will have very unhappy customers.” – Kristin Skogen Lund, CEO, Schibsted
“The lack of people speaking up isn’t because there is no problem. The lack of people speaking up is actually a sign of the problem because people are so afraid that they’re just afraid to even say anything. And if that is the state of the Internet today, then I think that’s a terrible place for the world to be.” – Andy Yen, CEO, ProtonMail
And they’re all coming together with more than any single company at stake: “I’m fighting not because of just Spotify, but because I truly, at the core of my being, believe this is right,” Daniel Ek noted in the episode. “And it’s very important for the future of the economy and for app developers and creators alike.”
We know that fair and open platforms enable better consumer experiences and allow developers to grow and thrive. When this happens, everybody wins.
Hear for yourself in the episode below.
Access the full episode transcript here.
Inside Spotify, agrin health, amy klobuchar, andy yen, antitrust, app store, apple, competition, Daniel Ek, fanfix, For the Record Podcast, FTR Podcast, harry gestetner, karen thomas, kristin skogen lund, legislation, leveling the playing field, marsha blackburn, policy, protonmail, richard blumenthal, schibsted, Spotify For the Record Podcast, Time to Play, US Senators