Spotify’s CEO expects Apple to ‘open up’ to third-party apps

Apple is always happy to trumpet the strengths of the App Store and just how much it has helped developers, but that doesn’t mean it’s always ready to adopt third-party apps as defaults.

Apple has always held a staunch belief that its own apps, whether it be for the stock web browsing app or the stock email app, are the best way for iOS users to experience those elements on a smartphone. Of course, it doesn’t stop folks from downloading third-party apps as replacements, but setting them as default isn’t an option (like it is on Android). It’s been a loud complaint from many users over the years, but at least one CEO believes Apple might be making some changes.

Bloomberg has the report today, an interview with Daniel Ek, the Chief Executive Officer of Spotify. Ek is adamant about his feelings regarding Apple’s behavior towards third-party apps, calling it anticompetitive for years now. The company has gone as far as to file an anti-trust complaint against Apple in the European Union. But now, a year later, Ek believes that Apple is ready to “open up” to the idea of allowing iOS users to set third-party apps as defaults.

Per the interview:

Long term, we do expect Apple to open up.

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.

However, Ek also adds:

It’s moving in the right direction, but we still have many, many steps to go before” Spotify considers Apple “an open and fair platform.

Spotify filed the antitrust complaint against Apple last year, and it certainly sounds like, since then, behind-the-scenes conversations with Apple have suggested that things could change in the future. Ek doesn’t provide any concrete details in this regard, of course, but the fact that the CEO is even slightly optimistic that things are starting to turn around in this area is quite the change.

Now, it’s worth noting that in February Bloomberg reported that when iOS 14 launches later this year, Apple will let users opt to choose their own default apps for both the web browser and email. That report did not indicate that Apple would allow this change of standard operating procedure to cover other apps, like the stock music experience (which, right now, is Apple Music) or the stock maps/navigational experience (which is Apple Maps), but it does suggest Apple is at least moving in that direction.

Related: Apple’s virtual WWDC 2020 will begin on June 22

In addition to that, Apple is also rumored to be adopting third-party music services to work with the HomePod as default options.

Along with the release of iOS 13, Apple did make it possible for Siri to integrate with third-party apps like Spotify and the music streaming service launched that support last October.

Not to let the moment slip by, Ek also praised Spotify in relation to Apple Music, saying that it is “twice the size” of its nearest competition, and sees three times the engagement.

In related news, Spotify did just announce that it has surpassed 130 million paid subscribers, and it did just launch Siri support for the Apple Watch app.