Apple Statement: No special treatment for Spotify

Apple didn’t allow Spotify’s latest app update to the App Store, which is why the Swedish streaming provider wrote to Apple via a lawyer’s letter. It states that Apple’s approach raises serious questions about compliance with US and EU competition rules. Now Apple lawyer Bruce Sewell has commented on the matter – and of course puts it in a completely different light.

Sewell says he’s disappointed by Spotify’s public attacks. After all, the app has been downloaded over 160 million times from the App Store and has brought hundreds of millions of dollars in sales to Spotify. That’s why it’s worrying that Spotify is asking for exemptions from regulations that apply to all developers. They would also follow streaming services such as Google Play Music, Tidal, Amazon Music or Pandora.

In the letter, released in full by BuzzFeed, Sewell defends the app store model and charging for in-app purchases. The latter were introduced to offer Apple customers a simple, seamless and secure way to buy app content. The model would also offer advantages for developers, as it would be easier to acquire customers. Apple’s policy has always prohibited redirecting customers around in-app purchases.

Apple lawyer Bruce Sewell also points out that Apple recently announced a change in the App Store commission for in-app subscriptions. If a customer subscribes to a service for longer than twelve months, the commission is halved from 30 to 15 percent. For many providers of content subscriptions, the 30 percent fee caused a stir again and again. Spotify might not have fit the model either – after all, the provider charged its customers 30 percent more for iOS subscriptions.

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But now to the specific case of rejection of the app update. Spotify submitted an app update on May 26, in which Apple identified a number of issues. Among other things, the option to complete an in-app subscription was removed, instead users were offered the option of providing an email address in order to be contacted directly by Spotify to complete a subscription on the website.

This feature is just to bypass an in-app purchase and use the App Store without paying Apple, Sewell said. In several conversations, Apple pointed out to the developers that this procedure violated the App Store guidelines and that a new version of the app had to be submitted. As a result, Spotify submitted another app update on June 10, but again implemented the same registration procedure.

This app was therefore again rejected by Apple. Unlike Spotify, this function was not intended to communicate with customers, but purely to enable a contract to be concluded outside the App Store. Finally, Sewell states that Apple is happy to initiate an expedited app review process once Spotify submits an App Store compliant app update.

Via BuzzFeed

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