Why Spotify is really mad at Apple over ‘unfair’ fees related to big new feature

The audio streaming landscape is one that is constantly changing and which Spotify is expanding its services to include in-app service transactions, most prominently via audiobooks. Apple‘s App Store, however, takes a sizable percentage of those purchases, and Spotify has issued a statement expressing the company’s complaints about this policy.

On Sept. 20, Spotify launched its audiobook feature, which allows users to browse over 300,000 titles, increasing its presence in the ever-competitive digital audio streaming industry and expanding beyond music and podcasts. Just five weeks after the debut of this new feature, Spotify retired all audiobook purchases in the iOS version of its app (compatible with Apple devices), because the tech giant takes up to 30 percent of all user purchases in the Spotify app.

Spotify offered Apple three suggestions on what The edge describes as a “purchase process”, all of which were rejected by Apple for going against App Store policies. It’s another head-to-head between the two companies and in 2019 even Spotify filed a cartel complaint above App Store fees.

The streaming service beats the drum again.

“We’re talking about this because it reflects Apple’s anti-competitive practices across the board,” said Harry Clarke, associate general counsel and Spotify’s lead antitrust lawyer. CNN“We think it is vital that users, politicians and competition authorities really understand what is happening because we have found that once they understand what is happening there is almost unanimous agreement that it is unfair. “

Previously, users who wanted to purchase an audiobook through Spotify would receive an email with a purchase link for their desired title, bypassing the in-app purchase method. Now a message reads: “You can’t buy audiobooks in the app. We know it’s not ideal,” although purchases can still be made through Spotify’s audiobook section in their web browser and through the desktop app, just not on mobile devices and tablets.

“One of the challenges with Apple’s rules is that they effectively give us a gag order to talk about this in the app,” Clarke adds, shedding light on some of Spotify’s messaging tactics. “We will continue to amplify this issue to help people understand the negative impact Apple’s policies are having.”

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