Spotify Chief Daniel Ek Is Lobbying Washington Against ‘Apple’s Stranglehold’ on App Stores
The streamer's CEO is meeting members of Congress this week to push passage of the Open App Markets Act.
Spotify founder/CEO Daniel Ek is meeting with members of the United States Congress and the Biden administration this week in Washington, D.C., to urge them to pass legislation that would rein in the “stranglehold” companies like Apple have over the competition on their app stores. The executive revealed in a Wednesday (April 19) post on Spotify’s For the Record blog after teasing in a tweet on Sunday that he was headed to the U.S. capital.
The Open App Markets Act — which was introduced in August 2021 and which Ek has previously lobbied for — would bar Apple, Google and other app stores with more than 50 million users from forcing app developers to use their payment systems as a condition of distribution. It would also block app store owners from punishing app developers if they extend deals to customers or offer their app for lower prices elsewhere.
While the bill was advanced by a Senate committee last year, no further action was taken. With this trip, Ek is looking to train a renewed spotlight on the bill, which he hopes will be resurrected for a wider vote by the new Congress.
Apple has lobbied against the bill, arguing that it could lead to consumers loading apps onto their smartphones from places outside of its centralized app store, introducing potential privacy risks.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
Ek has argued that Apple and others act as anti-competitive gatekeepers because the terms required for inclusion in their app stores prevent Spotify and others from telling consumers about new products or deal offers.
“Apple prohibits competition by not allowing developers to discuss new products, features, and deals with their own users,” Ek wrote in an editorial posted to Spotify’s blog on Wednesday (April 19). “For instance, Apple promotes deals for Apple Music to Spotify customers, but denies us the same privilege.”
Read Ek’s full editorial on Spotify’s For The Record blog here.