Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said he expects longtime rival Apple will “open up” iOS and its platforms more in the future as a result of contention with developers and growing antitrust concern from regulators, according to an interview with Ek published on Tuesday by Bloomberg.
Spotify filed a regulatory complaint with the European Union last year, calling Apple’s mandatory 30 percent App Store cut a “tax” that stifles innovation and unfairly benefits Apple against its competitors. Spotify also cited Apple’s control over system-level features like its Siri voice assistant, which at the time did not work with Spotify but naturally did integrate with Apple Music. The complaint resulted in an ongoing EU antitrust investigation.
While the two companies have routinely squabbled publicly before and after the EU complaint, Apple has in some cases relented in its approach. It worked with Spotify to enable Siri support for the iPhone and Apple Watch. And Spotify also released an Apple TV app for the first time.
“Long term, we do expect Apple to open up,” Ek told Bloomberg in a televised interview. “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.”
Apple may soon let rivals, including Spotify, run natively on its HomePod smart speaker, according to Bloomberg. Last month, the existence of a new Apple program for third-party video providers also came to light, indicating that Apple is now cutting deals with companies like Amazon to allow them to bypass the 30 percent App Store cut for certain digital items like TV show and movie rentals.
Ek was quick to provide a caveat, however, saying in his interview that while “it’s moving in the right direction,” he thinks “we still have many, many steps to go before” Apple’s ecosystem can be considered a fair platform.