Spotify CEO Joins Elon Musk, Accuses Apple of ‘Shameless’ Policies

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.
November 30, 2022Updated: November 30, 2022

The CEO of Spotify joined Twitter owner Elon Musk Wednesday in criticizing Apple over its App Store rules, claiming the firm only acts in its own self-interest.

In a thread on Twitter, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek wrote that as Musk and “countless entrepreneurs” have noted, “Apple is shameless in their bullying including our recent efforts to help authors sell more audiobooks.”

“Apple acts in self interest but also doesn’t seem to care about the law or courts,” Ek wrote, adding, “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’s alleged “bad behavior is far-reaching and as [Musk] recently pointed out, not widely understood,” Ek continued. “In 2020, the European Commission launched its own investigation and in 2021 their initial findings showed Apple to be in breach of European competition law,” he said.

It’s not the first time that Spotify or its CEO have targeted Apple over its app policies, with reports claiming its App Store has rejected the Spotify app three times.

In a blog post written in October, Spotify said that “Apple continues to stand in the way of Spotify’s and other developers’ abilities to provide a seamless user experience, and its restrictions hurt both creators and consumers alike.”

Earlier this week, Musk wrote that Apple allegedly threatened to remove Twitter from its App Store and accused the firm of suppressing free speech by mandating that apps abide by its rules around content. Notably, Apple and Google removed the alternative social media platform Parler in early 2021 for similar reasons before it was restored later that year.

“Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?” Musk also wrote. For months, the Tesla CEO has complained that Apple levies a 30 percent fee on in-app purchases, meaning it is likely hurting Musk’s companies’ revenue.

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook attends The Apple Inc. Tower Theatre retail store opening on Broadway Theater District in downtown Los Angeles on June 24, 2021. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

Apple, the world’s largest company by valuation, and its CEO, Tim Cook, have not publicly responded to either Musk or Ek this week. The firm has not returned an Epoch Times’ request for comment.

Musk, who has not provided many details about what threats Apple allegedly made, criticized the firm as he plans to roll out a new monthly Twitter subscription and verification service. After taking over Twitter last month, Musk has restored the accounts of former President Donald Trump, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Jordan Peterson, the Babylon Bee, and numerous others.

Investigations?

While Twitter likely does not provide a significant source of revenue to Apple via its App Store, a number of lawmakers and officials have suggested that Congress investigate the company. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Ohio Senator-elect J.D. Vance, both Republicans, said on Tuesday that a probe is warranted while DeSantis criticized the firm for its recent alleged censorship of Chinese protesters

“You also hear reports Apple is threatening to remove Twitter from the App Store because Elon Musk is actually opening it up for free speech, and is restoring a lot of accounts that were unfairly and illegitimately suspended for putting out accurate information about Covid,” DeSantis told reporters Tuesday at a Florida news conference.

“If Apple responds to that by nuking them from the app store, I think that would be a huge, huge mistake, and it would be a really raw exercise of monopolistic power,” he continued before stating that Apple is now acting as a “vassal” to the Chinese Communist Party amid reports that it updated its AirDrop app to limit use within China.

Vance, who was elected during the Nov. 8 election, posted that deplatforming Twitter “would be the most raw exercise of monopoly power in a century, and no civilized country should allow it.”

John Freeman, analyst at CFRA, told Yahoo that Apple is “playing a dangerous game” with apps and said it “better have a really good reason to reject the app,” referring to Spotify. European regulators have already launched an antitrust investigation into the Cupertino, California-based corporation.

“Spotify might have a point of leverage that they could take advantage of,” Freeman told Yahoo. “If I were them, I’d play the David versus Goliath card.”

Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.