Spotify is looking to give Apple good bruises in the press.
The music streaming device is taking its grievances with the Silicon Valley audience, publicly criticizing the company over a dispute over the 30% App Store fee Apple charges for in-app digital services transactions.
“We’re talking about this because it reflects Apple’s anti-competitive practices across the board,” Harry Clark, assistant general counsel and lead competition attorney at Spotify, told CNN in an interview Tuesday.
Here’s the backstory: Spotify
(spot) It simply refuses to cede the whopping 30% of its business to Apple. This means that the company cannot sell audiobooks, which a company is trying to break into, within its iOS app. spotify
(spot)Instead, he came up with three solutions, which he believes are consistent with Apple’s policies. But they were all eventually rejected after undergoing App Store reviews, forcing the company to essentially give up giving its customers a way to purchase audiobooks in its iOS app.
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The effect is obvious to potential book buyers. iOS users browsing Spotify’s audiobook library and clicking on a specific collection are greeted with a message: “Want to listen? You can’t purchase audiobooks in the app. We know it’s not perfect.” (Apple, of course, sells audiobooks via pre-installed Apple Books.)
While Spotify has no real recourse to force Apple to accept its app offering an audiobook workaround, it is using skirmishes to attack Apple in the media and focus attention on the 30% in-app corporate tax, which has long been criticized by the streaming company. and others. In recent days, Spotify has issued a powerful press release and shared a lengthy story about this with The New York Times.
“We think it’s critical that users, policy makers, and competition authorities really understand what’s going on,” Clark explained when asked about why Spotify is making so much buzz around the issue. “Because we’ve found that once they understand what’s going on, there’s almost consensus that this is unfair.”
Clark said it’s important for the company to raise the issue in the press because Spotify users may not understand why the audiobook experience in the iOS app is so complicated. “One of the challenges with Apple’s rules is that they effectively enforce a gag order on us to talk about this in the app,” Clark said, adding that many users were “unfamiliar” with the communication the company had with Apple.
Apple, for its part, does not directly address Spotify’s PR campaign against it. The company referred CNN to a public statement about the dispute, saying it had “no problem with reader apps adding audiobook content,” but Spotify’s in-app purchase solution broke its rules.
Spotify’s general war on Apple is part of a larger trend recently, with other major tech companies targeting the iPhone maker. Mark Zuckerberg recently took a screenshot of Apple’s iMessage security features, arguing that his WhatsApp is more secure. Google was attacking Apple for refusing to play soccer on the Android system on text messages.
And these kinds of pressure campaigns aren’t likely to fade any time soon. Spotify said it plans to continue to publicly pressure Apple on the matter. “We will continue to amplify this issue, to help people understand the negative impact of Apple’s policies,” Clark said.