Spotify goes to war with Apple after the App Store rejects its big new feature

New York
CNN Business

Spotify is looking to give Apple a good bruise in the press.

Music streamer takes grievance to Silicon Valley goliath audience, openly lashing out at company over dispute centered on Apple’s 30% App Store fee for service transactions integrated digital.

“We’re talking about this because it reflects Apple’s anti-competitive practices across the board,” Harry Clarke, associate general counsel and senior competition counsel at Spotify, told CNN on Tuesday.

Here’s the backstory: Spotify (SPOT) simply refuses to shell out the huge 30% cut in its business to Apple. That means the company can’t sell audiobooks, a business it’s trying to break into, in its iOS app. Spotify (SPOT), instead, offered three workarounds, which it claimed complied with Apple’s policies. But they were all ultimately rejected after facing criticism for the App Store, forcing the company to essentially drop the offer for customers to buy audiobooks in its iOS app.

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The effect is clear to potential book buyers. iOS users browsing Spotify’s audiobook library and tapping on a selection are greeted with a message: “Want to listen? You can’t buy audiobooks in the app. We know that’s not not ideal.(Apple, of course, also sells audiobooks through its preinstalled Apple Books.)

Although Spotify has no real recourse to compel Apple to accept its app offering its workaround for audiobooks, it uses the skirmish to attack Apple in the media and draw attention to the 30% tax on audiobooks. company’s app, which has long been criticized by the streamer. and others. In recent days, Spotify issued a scathing press release and participated in a long story on the subject with The New York Times.

“We think it’s critical that users, policymakers and competition authorities really understand what’s going on,” Clarke explained when asked why Spotify is making such a big fuss about the issue. “Because we’ve found that once they understand what’s going on, there’s almost unanimous agreement that it’s unfair.”

Clarke said it was important for the company to raise the issue in the press because Spotify users might not understand why the audiobook experience in the iOS app is so cumbersome. “One of the challenges of Apple’s rules is that they effectively put a gag on us to talk about it in the app,” Clarke said, adding that many users are “unaware” of the back-and-forth. comes from the company. had with Apple.

Apple, for its part, isn’t directly attacking Spotify’s PR campaign against it. The company referred CNN to a general statement about the dispute, in which it said it had “no issues with playback apps adding audiobook content,” but that Spotify’s workaround – its in-app purchase method – broke its rules.

Spotify’s public war on Apple is part of a larger trend lately, with other Big Tech companies targeting the iPhone maker. Mark Zuckerberg recently delved into Apple’s iMessage security features, saying his WhatsApp is more secure. And Google hammered Apple for refusing to play ball with Android over text messages.

And these types of pressure campaigns are unlikely to fail anytime soon. Spotify said it plans to continue to publicly lobby Apple about this. “We’re going to continue to amplify this issue,” Clarke said, “to help people understand the negative impact of Apple’s policies.”


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