Friday, March 15, 2024

Spotify Anti-Steering Stonewalling

Scam apps top the search results, but at least Apple is protecting us from links to Spotify’s Web site (MacRumors):

Spotify says Apple is stonewalling updates issued in compliance with that very ruling. In an email to the European Commission obtained by The Verge, Spotify writes that Apple has “neither acknowledged nor responded to Spotify’s submission” to bring subscription pricing information into the app, preventing it from updating the app at all for its users, even to put out fixes for bugs or add other features.


The company writes that this is “yet another example of how Apple if unchecked, will seek to circumvent and/or not comply with the Commission’s decision.” It also urges the European Commission to contact Apple and requires that it approve Spotify’s changes. “Given Apple’s track record, Spotify is concerned that Apple’s delay is intentional and is aimed at delaying or avoiding compliance altogether,” the email reads.

Maybe the 10-days-and-counting review time is just a coincidence, but, as Phil Schiller might say, Apple has a history of holding apps it doesn’t like in review purgatory. Maybe the European Commissions should ask for written assurance that it’s acting in good faith.


Update (2024-03-17): Kyle Howells:

Apple’s App Review behaving just as designed I see…. allowing it avoid complying with court orders and laws it doesn’t like.

Update (2024-03-29): Gergely Orosz:

22 days later, Apple still not approving the Spotify update that adds pricing details.

Update (2024-04-26): Juli Clover:

Spotify has not been able to get Apple to approve an EU app update that added information on subscription pricing and links to the Spotify website, and it turns out that’s because Spotify has not agreed to the terms of Apple’s Music Streaming Services Entitlement.


Apple requires developers who use the entitlement to pay a 27 percent fee (reduced for subscriptions older than one year and for small businesses) on all website purchases referred by Apple. So if Spotify puts a link in its app and a user clicks it and subscribes, Spotify would owe Apple a 27 percent commission (three percent less than the App Store purchase fee).

Spotify does not currently pay Apple any money, and it does not want to.

I think Spotify was a bit deceptive in not telling us this when it complained about Apple’s stonewalling. On the other hand, Apple was also playing some sort of game by neither approving nor rejecting the app. I can’t imagine that the EU is OK with Apple’s ridiculous terms for using the entitlement.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Apple got fined $2B for its illegal pre-DMA conduct on this issue, and still thinks it can withhold 'following the law’ until you sign up for an entitlement, a 27% Apple tax, and give Apple audit rights to your company. Which is all completely illegal under the DMA.

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