Spotify accuses Apple of ruining a popular feature, here’s why


Spotify launched its audiobooks business with a library of over 300,000 titles in September this year. A month on, it looks like the music streaming app has just run into a hurdle with an old adversary, Apple. Spotify is now accusing Apple of “anti-competitive behaviour” that is hurting “audiobook listeners, publishers and authors.” Reports suggest that the iPhone-maker has rejected Spotify’s app update three times in the last month.
Spotify accuses Apple of ‘choking competition’
Spotify says in a blog post that Apple continues to stand in the way of the company’s and “other developers’ abilities to provide a seamless user experience, and its restrictions hurt both creators and consumers alike.”
The music streaming app is once again pointing out Apple’s App Store rules according to which the company takes up to 30% cut of the in-app purchases. Spotify offers users various audiobooks that can be purchased from within the app. As per the App Store rules, Spotify will have to share a certain amount of revenue with the iPhone-maker.
“The Audiobooks purchase flow that Apple’s rules force us to provide consumers today is far too complicated and confusing — confusing because they change the rules arbitrarily, making them impossible to interpret. Bottom line, we’re forced to make users work even harder to listen to an audiobook. This harms not only consumers, but, this time, also authors and publishers who now find themselves under Apple’s thumb,” Spotify said in a blog post.
As per a report in the New York Times, Apple has rejected Spotify’s latest app update three times in the last month. The update apparently has a way around the 30% cut that Apple takes from purchases.

Apple’s take
Apple reportedly says that Spotify is trying to get around its App Store rules and Spotify’s update regarding audiobooks is not in line with guidelines. These guidelines suggest how apps can communicate with users about purchasing options outside of the App Store.
“We have no issue with reader apps adding audiobook content to their apps, linking users out to websites to sign up for services, or communicating with customers externally about alternative purchase options. The Spotify app was rejected for not following the guidelines regarding including explicit in-app communications to direct users outside the app to make digital purchases. We provided them with clear guidance on how to resolve the issue, and approved their app after they made changes that brought it into compliance,” Apple told MacRumors in a statement.
The report also says that Apple initially approved Spotify’s update that allows it to send customers a link via email to purchase an audiobook. But later took a u-turn rejecting subsequent updates.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek says that Apple continues to dictate what online innovation looks like and choking competition. “In the absence of government intervention—in Europe, the US, or any other market around the world—Apple has shown time and again that it will not self-regulate and has no real incentive to change. With our Audiobooks launch, Apple has once again proven just how brazen it is willing to be with its App Store rules, constantly shifting the goalposts to disadvantage their competitors,” Ek said in a post.
Spotify has been battling Apple over music subscriptions and filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission. Spotify says that the 30% commission that Apple takes harms consumers. The European Commission even issued a Statement of Objections but a verdict is awaited in this case.



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