Former Spotify Director of Global Competition Policy joins advocacy group for an open and interoperable web
Gene Burrus, the former Director of Global Competition at Spotify, has joined forces with the Movement for an Open Web (MOW), to support MOW’s mission in the US. Burrus will be supporting the campaigning group as it seeks to secure the future of an open and interoperable internet in the face of multiple challenges from the digital platforms.
Founded in 2020, MOW campaigns to enforce open standards online and to empower regulators to effectively regulate the tech giants. It was launched in response to attempts by the platforms to exert their monopoly power by manipulating standards and closing down interoperable technologies. The organization was the initial complainant in the UK Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) investigation into Google’s Privacy Sandbox, which resulted in the imposition of commitments that have delayed its roll out.
Gene Burrus is one of the United States’ most experienced competition law professionals dealing with issues surrounding dominant digital platforms, having worked as Assistant General Counsel for Microsoft for 15 years and, more recently, as Spotify’s Director of Global Competition Policy from 2020-2023. Gene recently left Spotify to start a private practice.
James Rosewell, co-founder of MOW, said: “Authorities around the world are sitting up and paying attention to the threat posed by the dominance of the digital platforms. From the CMA in the UK to the DoJ in the US, there are significant cases in process that have the potential to either save or condemn the Internet as we know it. Our ask is simple, we want to see an end to data discrimination by the platforms and freedom of interoperation for all players.
“The platforms have been working hard to spread the incorrect message that first party is good and third party is bad – this deliberately misleading language threatens competition and consumer privacy and we see it as our role to set the record straight. Gene will be taking that story to regulators and legislators across the US to help inform and enable them to take the necessary action.”
Gene Burrus, Director of MOW’s US Operations, said: “For too long, the tech giants have been able to exert and protect their monopoly power unchecked, resulting in a significant impairment to competition in the online world. They’ve been trying to cement this dominance by leveraging their gatekeeper role on the browser to shut down the open and interoperable standards that underpin the web as we know it. MOW has already secured significant wins as it works to rein in the power of the platforms and the future of a fee and open internet. I’m looking forward to building on that momentum by taking their message further into the US market, to unleash competition and innovation. It is not just dominant platforms that can look out for consumers interests not just dominant platforms that have innovative ideas. Everyone does better when disciplined by market forces.”
“MOW is a coalition of businesses that recognise the threat to competition and innovation posed by the dominant platforms. It’s vital that any business that understands the threat of monopoly dominance of the web takes action, whether on their own or as part of MOW.”
For more information:
The Movement for an Open Web is a campaign group dedicated to preserving an open and decentralised web in the face of efforts by the major platforms to exert monopolistic control over its operations.
Big tech corporations are trying to secure ownership and control of key aspects of the web, from people’s online identity to the way in which the internet is monetised. MOW draws attention to these issues to the public, media, regulators and policy makers.
MOW is not dedicated to preserving the status quo or any specific technological solutions. It simply asks that any fundamental changes to the way the web works are open and competitive, not proprietary and closed.
MOW is made up of a group of concerned organisations that want to preserve an open and decentralised web. They are by necessity anonymous for fear of retaliation from browser owners, in itself a clear indication of their market dominance.