Friday, July 1, 2016 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Spotify Update Rejected From the App Store

Peter Kafka (via Peter Steinberger):

“This latest episode raises serious concerns under both U.S. and EU competition law,” Gutierrez wrote. “It continues a troubling pattern of behavior by Apple to exclude and diminish the competitiveness of Spotify on iOS and as a rival to Apple Music, particularly when seen against the backdrop of Apple’s previous anticompetitive conduct aimed at Spotify … we cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors.”

[…]

Apple doesn’t require subscription services to use its iTunes billing service, but it doesn’t allow them to use an alternate payment system within the app, as Google does. Apple charges a monthly fee of up to 30 percent for those that do use its billing system — and it doesn’t want app makers to use the apps to promote alternate subscription options outside the apps.

[…]

In Spotify’s case, the company has used Apple’s billing system for years, but passed on Apple’s fee to customers by charging $13 a month instead of the $10 a month the service sells for outside Apple’s store.

It sounds like Apple is not singling out Spotify for special scrutiny. Rather, Spotify was trying to get around Apple’s longstanding in-app purchase rules. That said, I believe said rules are anti-competitive and bad for both customers and developers.

See also: Hacker News, John Gruber, Nick Heer, Juli Clover, Andrew Cunningham, and Emily Blake.

Update (2016-07-02): John Paczkowski:

In a letter sent to Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez on Friday, Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell rebutted the streaming music service’s June 26 allegations that Apple is “causing grave harm to Spotify and its customers” by rejecting a recent update to Spotify’s iOS app. “We find it troubling that you are asking for exemptions to the rules we apply to all developers and are publicly resorting to rumors and half-truths about our service,” Sewell wrote in a letter obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Juli Clover:

Sewell’s letter to Spotify ends with some clarification on why Spotify’s app was rejected on May 26. Spotify replaced its in-app subscription purchase options with an account sign-up feature Apple says was "clearly intended to circumvent Apple’s in-app purchase rules."

1 Comment

"It sounds like Apple is not singling out Spotify for special scrutiny. Rather, Spotify was trying to get around Appleā€™s longstanding in-app purchase rules. That said, I believe said rules are anti-competitive and bad for both customers and developers."

Yup to both counts.

The interesting part of Spotify's strategy here is that they're trying to get the Feds and EU involved...

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