Apple Rejected Spotify’s App Update Adding Audiobook Support

Apple and Spotify at loggerheads again as Spotify tries to break into audiobook market, reports The New York Times. Apple reportedly rejected Spotify’s latest app update three times in the last month.

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Over the years, Apple and Spotify have had a protracted feud over Apple’s App Store policies, with several public clashes over app and subscription fees and app rejections due to Spotify’s attempts to circumvent the up to 30 percent cut Apple takes from purchases receives.

Apple says Spotify is trying to circumvent its “App Store” rules again, and the Cupertino company claims Spotify’s audiobook update doesn’t comply with policies governing how apps are available to users through purchase options outside of the “App Store.” Storeā€ can communicate.

Apple last year agreed to a change in the App Store rules that would allow developers to use communications like email to share information about payment options available outside of an iOS app, but Spotify slammed an attempt to add the feature implement, for problems. With the rule change, Spotify wanted to direct customers to buy books online to listen to in the app, instead of giving Apple a share of its audiobook sales.

Apple has apparently told Spotify that it can send customers emails about online purchases, but Spotify isn’t able to offer an in-app email request button. The feature was developed with the involvement of Spotify’s legal team, and Apple initially approved the update in September, but later reversed course and rejected subsequent updates.

Spotify has developed a nine-step process for buying an audiobook, where a customer taps on an audiobook and sees a screen with a lock over the play button. By pressing the play button, customers received a page where they could request information about purchasing a book via email, and the email offered a link to purchase the book.

Corresponding The New York TimesAn Apple spokesman said Apple has no objection to audiobooks in the Spotify app, but Spotify can’t circumvent rules around web addresses and language to encourage customers to make purchases outside of the app.

After Apple’s multiple denials, Spotify released a version of the app that removes audiobook purchase information from Spotify’s website, which Apple approved. Spotify is now advising users that there is no option to buy an audiobook in the app. “We know it’s not ideal,” Spotify says in the app text.

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Spotify filed a regulatory complaint with the European Union in 2019 over Apple’s “App Store” practices and maintains an anti-Apple “Time to Play Fair” website. Spotify has continued to meet with European regulators, but the case is ongoing. Spotify has also sided with Epic Games in the Epic Games-Apple legal battle, participating in the “Coalition for App Fairness” alongside Epic Games, Tile and others unhappy with Apple’s “anti-competitive” policies.