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These two start-ups aren’t afraid of Apple

June 12, 2015, 8:26 PM UTC

Apple stepped on a lot of toes at WWDC. Or at least it threatened to. Some start-ups whose business models sit directly in Cupertino’s path issued some pretty brave statements this week.

Rdio, which offers a live-streaming music service in the space Apple Music plans to occupy, put out a cheeky homage to the gauntlet Apple’s threw down in 1991 to IBM:

“Welcome, Apple. Seriously. Welcome to the most exciting and important frontier since the digital music revolution began 16 years ago.” (The Next Web)

Flipboard, whose magazine-like mobile app could have been the template for Apple’s new News service, struck a similar note:

“What Apple was showing is something that we actually shipped five years ago,” said CEO Mike McCue on a BBB podcast.

Rdio seems to have forgotten that Apple got bulldozed by IBM. And Flipboard wasn’t exactly setting the publishing world on fire before Apple demoed News.

Daniel Ek, co-founder of Spotify, Europe’s leading music streaming service, was more circumspect. And realistic. On Monday he responded to the advent of Apple Music with a two-word tweet: “Oh, ok.”

Later he told a Swedish magazine (as translated by Reuters):

“To me, it is enough to be among the top three.”

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple (AAPL) coverage at or subscribe via his RSS feed.