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Spotify Says Apple Won't Approve New Version Of Its App Because It Doesn't Want Competition For Apple Music (recode.net) 327

According to a report on Recode, Apple has rejected an update to Spotify's iOS app, and that this has caused a "grave harm to Spotify and its customers." The Swedish-based music company competes with Apple's Music streaming app and service. In a letter to Apple's top lawyer, Spotify says that Apple turned down a version of the app citing "business model rules" and demanded that Spotify uses Apple's billing system if it wants to acquire new customers and sell subscriptions. From the report:The letter, sent by Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez to Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell on May 26, suggests that Spotify intends to use the standoff as ammunition in its fight over Apple's rules governing subscription services that use its App store. "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."
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Spotify Says Apple Won't Approve New Version Of Its App Because It Doesn't Want Competition For Apple Music

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  • Walled garden (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @01:21PM (#52420175) Homepage Journal
    If you work in a walled garden you are just a gardner.
    • Re:Walled garden (Score:5, Informative)

      by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @01:46PM (#52420365)

      Apple was already charging more per month for a Spotify subscription than what you'd pay by going through Spotify. You could subscribe through Spotify for $9.99, but if you subscribed through iTunes I think it was $12.99.

      Apple is just making sure they get a hefty cut of what Spotify is doing, while adding no value.

      • Re:Walled garden (Score:4, Insightful)

        by known_coward_69 ( 4151743 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @02:30PM (#52420791)
        spotify was always free to disable subs via the app and only do them via the website and spend their own money marketing their service
        • spotify was always free to disable subs via the app and only do them via the website and spend their own money marketing their service

          There are plenty of apps that do this. Hulu and Netflix are among them.

      • No, Spotify is the company which decides how much to charge for their subscriptions within Apple's App Store. They have decided to add the cost of Apple's billing fee to their subscription rate.

    • Re:Walled garden (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @02:02PM (#52420513)

      This whole thing is a bit weird on both sides.
      1) When Apple added in-app payments (IAP) to the App Store, they came with a set of draconian rules (e.g. devs must use Apple's IAP system and pay Apple their 30% cut; devs can't advertise other ways to pay outside the store, etc.). No one liked it, but devs adjusted by doing things like raising the price to cover Apple's 30% cut from people who paid via IAP which is what Spotify did.

      2) This arrangement continues for several years.

      3) Spotify decides it no longer likes playing by the rules they've been following for years, so they submit an update that includes ads for an off-store way of paying for a subscription at a lower price.

      4) Apple rejects the update since it's in violation of the rules.

      5) Spotify decides to take its ball and leave, so they not only pull the advertising, they also pull the ability for iOS users to pay at all from the app.

      6) Apple apparently decides it wants to punish Spotify, so they reject that update, even though there's so far no indication of any form of rules breaking.

      All of which is to say, this seems childish on both sides. Apple's rules are soon-to-be relaxed a bit (e.g. 15% cut for subscriptions that last longer than a year), but they're still draconian, and Spotify seems to be breaking the rules intentionally, then acting outraged in as loud a way as possible simply for the purpose of drumming up some PR.

      • I agree with most of what you say, except instead of categorizing Spotify as being childish and looking for PR, I'd call it they're using their position to point out Apple's greedyness and trying to get changes to happen. When Taylor Swift did the same thing with Apple Music and the free trial crap, everyone was falling all over themselves to congratulate her on using her status for good. How is this any different?

        • How is this any different?

          A) Taylor Swift refused to even begin putting her content on Apple Music until the problem was dealt with. Spotify, on the other hand, was happy to play along for several years, until they decided they weren't. If it was a raw deal, why have they been putting up with it for years? And why complain when the deal is getting better for them (Apple's cut is dropping from 30% to 15%) unless they want publicity?

          B) Taylor Swift would have been getting $0 during the trial period for new Apple Music users. Spotify h

          • They're tired of having to gouge their customers an extra 30% ($3 of $10 is 30%) to make 9% less (70% - the cut they get to keep - of $12.99 is $9.09, which is 91% of $9.99) when selling through Apple. They don't have >30% margins to be able to afford to eat the cost, so they did the reasonable thing and stopped selling that way; Apple then, took their ball and went home.

            Yes, I'm aware I didn't account for Spotify's payment processing cost in my math. Let's assume they're paying something average like
      • If you have the law on your side, pound on the law.

        If you have the facts on your side, pound on the facts.

        If you have neither the law or the facts on your side, pound on the table.

  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geek ( 5680 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @01:23PM (#52420187)

    Fuck Apple

  • by evolutionary ( 933064 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @01:30PM (#52420239)
    Is this really a surprise? If it weren't for federal laws requiring competitors be allowed to participate in Canada, we'd only have Bell (Canada), Rogers and Shaw for providing ANY Internet access and consequently, crazy high prices for Internet services abusing their monopoly. Fortunately our laws require those companies with the physical infrastructure to provide at wholesale prices so resell to end customers. Food for thought..
  • by Dishevel ( 1105119 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @01:33PM (#52420277)
    Companies have bent over to allow Apple this power.
    If the people are too stupid to realize that they are being treated like children or if they are ok with it then they should be cut off the good apps that us responsible people can handle.
    If Apple wants to be a shit and separate their customers from the rest of the world, then we should just abandon them to their choices.
  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @01:36PM (#52420295) Journal
    This right here. Understand now iphone users?
  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @01:43PM (#52420337)
    Apple needs to assure that the walls of its garden are not breached. Apple customers must only access what Apple wants them to access within the increasingly higher walls of the Apple Walled Garden.

    It's the reason (well, that and buggy software, but mainly that) why I dumped the AppleTV, gen4, that I recently purchased.

  • They deserve each other. Both piss on artists and offer a minimal contribution to their talent.
    • You think Apple and Spotify are bad, wait till you learn about the RIAA and the labels...

      • by dhaen ( 892570 )
        Yea well I wasn't going to criticise an agency that is foreign to me as a UK resident because our own BPI is bad enough. Let it be known that my own job depends on media sales but I cannot defend the way these agencies behave.
  • by Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @02:06PM (#52420563) Homepage

    When a single company controls an entire marketplace (in this case, the marketplace of iDevice users), abuse is sure to follow.

    • Spotify isn't available on Android?
      • Of course it is. But if you've ever known an Apple fanboy, you know that moving to Android would be like moving to a different country for them. To them, nothing exists outside of the Apple universe.

  • It sounds like Apple wants their 30% cut even though Spotify (and other apps) are multiplatform. And, in fact, users choose those apps/services because of their availability on multiple platforms.

    To be fair, I think Apple should prorate its App Store cut based on the total platform footprint of the service.

    E.g., if Spotify is on 4 platforms (iOS, MacOS, Windows, and Android), then Spotify pays 1/4 of the standard rate on subscriptions.

    If this applied only to recurring subscription costs, it would have no ef

    • To be fair, I think Apple should prorate its App Store cut based on the total platform footprint of the service.

      E.g., if Spotify is on 4 platforms (iOS, MacOS, Windows, and Android), then Spotify pays 1/4 of the standard rate on subscriptions.

      I completely disagree.

      Instead, I think Apple should multiply their rates based on the number of platforms an app is available on. e.g., if Spotify is on 4 platforms, and costs $10/month on the other platforms, Apple should charge iPhone users enough that it makes the

  • Apple ban's emulator with open rom as well. On there store apps like that need to be self contained and apple does not even let apps use a real file system / share files with other apps.

  • I am not sure which one of those to support.
    I like that Spotify takes the fight over Apples draconian rules on their store.

    However, I also feel like Spotify had this coming. They have for years mistreated the Android users. For years Android was a second class platform. Spotify should reap what they have sown. They shouldn't have invested so heavily in the iPhone users as they did. So in some respect I think this serves them right.

    Look how long it took them to support Chromecast. Apple TV however, that was

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser