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Spotify welcomes latest proposals in US Senate to regulate the tech giants

By | Published on Tuesday 19 October 2021


Spotify has welcomed the latest proposals in US Congress that seek to constrain tech giants like Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook, mainly to stop said companies from exploiting their market dominance to gain competitive advantage over smaller rivals.

The American Innovation And Choice Online Act was formally unveiled in the US Senate yesterday by Democrat Amy Klobuchar and Republican Charles E Grassley. It complements similar proposals discussed and passed by the judiciary committee in the House Of Representatives back in June.

A statement yesterday declared that the Senate proposals “would restore competition online by establishing common sense rules of the road for dominant digital platforms to prevent them from abusing their market power to harm competition, online businesses, and consumers”.

Klobuchar added: “American prosperity was built on a foundation of open markets and fair competition, but right now our country faces a monopoly problem, and American consumers, workers, and businesses are paying the price”.

“As dominant digital platforms – some of the biggest companies our world has ever seen – increasingly give preference to their own products and services, we must put policies in place to ensure small businesses and entrepreneurs still have the opportunity to succeed in the digital marketplace”, she went on. “This bill will do just that, while also providing consumers with the benefit of greater choice online”.

Spotify, of course, has been very vocal in its criticism of Apple in particular, which it accuses of anti-competitive conduct. A lot of that relates to the tech giant’s App Store rules and the impact they have on Spotify’s own iOS app.

For its part, Apple has recently made some concessions regarding those rules, mainly in response to regulatory and legal action in different countries. However, there are still plenty of further reforms that Spotify would like, many of which were contained in the Open App Markets Act, another set of legislative proposals backed by Klobuchar in the US Senate.

The American Innovation And Choice Online Act would complement the proposals in the Open App Markets Act, and actually go further in constraining the big tech companies like Apple. Meaning Spotify’s support for these latest proposals is unsurprising.

According to Billboard, Spotify’s Head Of Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer Horacio Gutierrez said of the latest proposals: “Gatekeeper platforms use their power to distort markets by manufacturing self-serving advantages at the expense of American consumers and competitors. They offer users fewer, less innovative choices and insulate themselves from competition, which leads to higher prices for consumers”.

To that end, he added, Spotify “looks forward to Congress bringing an end to these discriminatory practices for the sake of consumer choice and the digital economy”.

Of course, the tech giants will fight the proposed new regulations fiercely in Washington, so it’s by no means assured that any of these new laws will get all the way through Congress. But while the big wins may be someway off, companies like Spotify will be getting some more flexibility when providing services through other companies’ operating systems sooner rather than later.