Snap says Apple is a competitor

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Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Time Inc

Snap is a social media startup with just over 1800 employees. Apple is the world’s most valuable company, with over 80,000 US workers.

But Snap still sees the iPhone company as a competitor.

In an SEC filing released on Thursday, Snap mentions Apple several times as a competitor, despite the fact that Snap’s revenue comes from advertising, a business that Apple almost entirely ignores.

Snap also mentions Facebook, Google, and Twitter as competitors, among others. But those companies have businesses that are more closely in competition with Snap’s primary product, Snapchat.

“We compete with other companies in every aspect of our business, particularly with companies that focus on mobile engagement and advertising,” Snap leadership wrote in its S-1 filing. “Many of these companies, such as Apple, Facebook (including Instagram and WhatsApp), Google (including YouTube), and Twitter, have significantly greater financial and human resources and, in some cases, larger user bases.”

“We compete broadly with the social media offerings of Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter, and with other, largely regional, social media platforms that have strong positions in particular countries,” according to a risk factor listed in Snap’s filing.

Snap is likely referring in the case of Apple to iMessage, a messaging platform that features stickers and animations similar to Snapchat. Apple says there are 1 billion Apple devices in use, and most of those can run iMessage.

One worry for Snap is that Apple could use its dominant position in the smartphone market to muscle Snap off of consumers’ home screens. Apple has been rumored to be working on a Snapchat-like video editing product, maybe in its camera app.

From the filing:

Certain competitors, including Apple, Facebook, and Google, could use strong or dominant positions in one or more markets to gain competitive advantages against us in areas where we operate, including by: • integrating competing social media platforms or features into products they control such as search engines, web browsers, or mobile device operating systems; • making acquisitions for similar or complementary products or services; or • impeding Snapchat’s accessibility and usability by modifying existing hardware and software on which the Snapchat application operates.

Snap has released a hardware product, Spectacles, putting the company more closely in competition with Apple, which makes its money by selling hardware. However, Apple does not have a glasses product to compete with Spectacles, a pair of camera-equipped glasses that Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has called “a toy.”

In Thursday’s filing, Snap admitted that the revenue from Spectacles was “not material.”