- Spotify founder Daniel Ek has filed a lawsuit against the Apple Group with the European Commission.
- He accuses Apple, the Group abuse its dominant position and prefer its own music service on its platform.
- Spotify has 207 million users worldwide – Apple's music service is well behind with around 40 million users.
The man does not like public appearances, he is considered extremely reserved, almost shy, he does not actually give interviews, prefers to work in secret. But now Daniel Ek, 36, has made an exception. The founder and head of the music streaming service Spotify traveled from Stockholm to Berlin – to the biennial International Cartel Conference. Ek used his appearance to compete in front of the 400 assembled cartel experts from around the world for competition in the online world, and he explained in detail on his own behalf, why he has filed a complaint with the European Commission against the Apple Group.
Spotify feels deeply handicapped by Apple and accuses Americans of abusing a dominant position and preferring their own music service on their platform. Apple vehemently rejects this. Margrethe Vestager, EU Competition Commissioner, has promised to look into the case closely and says that the case could be comparable to that of Google. The search engine company had to pay billions in the bill because, according to findings of the European Commission, it should have put competitors at a disadvantage.
Spotify is a "real European champion" praised Antitrust President Andreas Mundt. In fact, there are not many online companies from Europe that are successful worldwide. Spotify, now listed on the New York Stock Exchange, has 207 million users worldwide, including 96 million paying customers. Apple's music service is well behind with around 40 million users.
Ek can be proud of that. He grew up in the Stockholm suburb of Rågsved, at four he got his first guitar as a gift, he was supposed to be enthusiastic about music at an early age and at the same time he was a computer scientist. Already at school, at the age of 14, he founded a company that programmed websites for companies. At just under 20, he sold them for a lot of money. After just a few weeks, Ek broke off his engineering studies and founded another IT company, which he also sold. At 22, he was a multimillionaire. In 2006, together with his partner Martin Lorentzon, he came up with the idea of a music streaming service, an online offer that allows you to borrow music as it were. The launch was bumpy, but Spotify became one of the success stories of the European Internet industry, today is worth 22.5 billion euros on the stock market. Ek, father of two daughters, is not only CEO, but also one of the major shareholders. "We really believe that we can make the world better – with every song," he wrote last year on the occasion of the IPO. He has tough competition, especially Apple.
Ek assures, he loves competition
"We count on the commission," said Ek now in Berlin. The Swede with the shaved head and full beard appeared quite serious in a dark suit with a white shirt. In the break before his lecture, he stood in a corner with a colleague, hiding, so that no one could address him. His appearance seemed intensely rehearsed, he read his speech from a teleprompter. Behind him on the canvas stood in white letters on a dark blue background: "Apple is not playing fair." Apple is not playing fair.
Ek described in detail the disadvantages of the US group, which comes to around one billion users worldwide. Apple keeps 30 percent of revenue, hindering promotions and blocking updates. The restrictions have become bigger and bigger. He loves competition, Ek says. Every Spotify office has a ping-pong table so employees can compete.