Apple and Spotify feud again as Spotify tries to break into audiobook market, reports The New York Times. Apple reportedly rejected the latest Spotify app update three times in the past month.
Over the years, Apple and Spotify have had a longstanding dispute over Apple’s App Store policies, with multiple public disputes over app and subscription fees and app rejections due to Spotify’s attempts to circumvent the discount of up to 30% that Apple takes on purchases.
Apple says Spotify is again trying to circumvent its App Store rules, and the Cupertino company says Spotify’s audiobook update doesn’t comply with guidelines that cover how apps can communicate with users on apps. purchase options outside of App Store.
Last year, Apple agreed to a change in App Store rules that allows developers to use communications such as email to share methods of information about payment options available outside of an app. iOS, but Spotify is having issues implementing this feature. With the rule change, Spotify wanted to incentivize customers to buy books online to listen to in the app, rather than giving Apple a cut of its audiobook sales.
Apple apparently told Spotify it could email customers regarding online purchases, but Spotify is unable to offer a button inside the app to request emails . The feature was designed with Spotify’s legal team involved, and Apple initially approved the update in September, but then reversed course, rejecting subsequent updates.
Spotify devised a nine-step process for purchasing an audiobook, which involved a customer tapping on an audiobook and seeing a screen with a lock on the play button. By pressing the play button, customers were presented with a page where they could request information on how to purchase a book via email, and the email offered a link to purchase the book.
An Apple spokesperson said MacRumors that Apple “has no problem” with playback apps like Spotify adding audiobook content, but Spotify has not followed Apple’s guidelines regarding in-app communications directing users outside of the app.
The App Store was designed to be a great business opportunity for developers, and we fully support initiatives to introduce new features into apps that deliver lasting value to users. We have no issues with reader apps adding audiobook content to their apps, linking users to websites to sign up for services, or communicating with customers externally about alternative purchase options. The Spotify app was rejected for not following guidelines for including explicit in-app communications to direct users outside of the app to make digital purchases. We gave them clear guidance on how to fix the problem and approved their app after making changes that brought it into compliance.
After Apple’s multiple rejections, Spotify released a version of the app that removes information on how to purchase an audiobook from Spotify’s website, which Apple has approved. Spotify now informs users that there is no option to purchase an audiobook in the app. “We know that’s not ideal,” Spotify says in the app’s text.
In 2019, Spotify filed a regulatory complaint with the European Union regarding the practices of Apple’s App Store and operates an anti-Apple “Time to Play Fair” website. Spotify has continued to meet with European regulators, but the deal is not yet done. Spotify has also sided with Epic Games in Epic Games’ legal battle against Apple, and it participates in the “Coalition for App Fairness” alongside Epic Games, Tile and others who are unhappy with the policies. “anti-competitive” Apple.
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