Spotify CEO Daniel Ek reiterated previous gripes he’s had with Apple during an interview this week, saying its platform is still not open enough to third-party apps like the Sweden-based music streamer. But according to the cofounder of high-end speaker and home audio company Sonos, Spotify operates an even-more closed ecosystem than Apple.
In a tweet posted Wednesday, Sonos cofounder John MacFarlane said it was “solid irony” that Ek was criticizing Apple’s platform. “Having worked closely with both Apple and Spotify, I would say it’s more significantly more difficult to work within Spotify’s ‘closed’ ecosystem than Apple’s,” he wrote. “Respect and appreciate both companies, but ‘open’ Spotify is not.”
Sonos products for the most part rely on third-party services like Spotify and Apple Music to stream music, podcasts, and audiobooks through the Sonos app. Industry analysts and commentators have suggested in recent years that Apple buy Sonos to boost its struggling HomePod smart speaker business.
In his tweet, MacFarlane shared a link to a recent Bloomberg interview with Ek. In it, Ek said that he has seen encouraging signs from Apple—like rolling out a feature allowing Siri to control music services other than Apple Music—since filing an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Union a year ago.
In the complaint, Spotify accused Apple of disadvantaging rival services by taking a 30% cut of subscriptions and limiting functionality on the Apple Watch and Siri.
Apple responded to the complaint last year, saying its App Store helped Spotify become successful. “The majority of customers use their free, ad-supported product, which makes no contribution to the App Store,” Apple said in March 2019. “Even now, only a tiny fraction of their subscriptions fall under Apple’s revenue-sharing model. Spotify is asking for that number to be zero.”
In the Bloomberg interview, Ek said that he expects Apple to open up in the long term. “It’s moving in the right direction, but,” he added, “we still have many, many steps to go before we consider Apple an open and fair platform.”
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