Apple and Spotify are yet again feuding as this Spotify attempts to break into the audiobook market, and Apple keeps rejecting the update reports from The New York Times. It is reported that Apple has rejected Spotify’s latest app update three times in the last month.
Apple and Spotify have had a long-running dispute over Apple’s App Store policies along with multiple public conflicts over the app as well as subscription fees. Disputes have also been on app rejections due to Spotify’s attempts to skirt the up to 30 percent cut that Apple takes from purchases.
Apple has said that Spotify is again trying to get around the App Store’s rules, and the Cupertino company claims that Spotify’s audiobook update is not in line with guidelines. These guidelines cover how apps can communicate with users about purchasing options outside of the App Store.
Apple last year had agreed to an App Store rule change that allows developers to use communications, for example, email to share information methods regarding payment options that are available outside of an iOS app. However, Spotify is running into issues attempting to implement the feature. As there was a rule change, Spotify wanted to direct customers to buy books online to listen to in the app, instead of giving Apple a cut of the audiobook sales.
Apple Rejected Spotify’s App Update
Apple has apparently told Spotify that it can send customers emails regarding online purchases, however, Spotify is not able to offer a button inside of the app to request the emails. The feature was designed with Spotify’s legal team involvement, and Apple had initially approved the update in September. However, it later reversed course, rejecting subsequent updates.
Spotify designed a nine-step process for purchasing an audiobook, this process involved a customer tapping on an audiobook and finding a screen with a lock over the play button. If customers pressed the play button, the app provided customers with a page where they could request information on how to buy a book through an email. The email you received would then offer a link to purchase the book.
According to an Apple spokesperson who talked to MacRumors, Apple “has no issues” with reader apps like Spotify adding audiobook content, however, Spotify did not follow Apple’s guidelines around in-app communications directing users outside its app.
After multiple rejections from Apple, Spotify eventually released a version of the app that removes information about how to purchase an audiobook from the Spotify website, which Apple has approved. Spotify now informs the users that there is no option to buy an audiobook in the app, while it displays “We know it’s not ideal,” in the app text.
Spotify in 2019 had filed a regulatory complaint with the European Union over Apple’s App Store practices. It also maintains an anti-Apple “Time to Play Fair” website. Spotify has continued to meet with European regulators; however, the case has not concluded as of this writing. Spotify also sides with Epic Games in the Epic Games v. Apple legal battle. It also participates in the “Coalition for App Fairness” alongside Epic Games, Tile, as well as others who are unhappy with Apple’s “anti-competitive” policies.
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