Apple Rejected Spotify's App Update Adding Audiobook Support

Apple and Spotify are once again feuding as Spotify attempts to break into the audiobook market, reports The New York Times. Apple has reportedly rejected Spotify's latest app update three times in the last month.

Apple vs Spotify feature2
Over the years, Apple and Spotify have had a long running dispute over Apple's App Store policies, with multiple public conflicts over app and subscription fees and app rejections due to Spotify's attempts to skirt the up to 30 percent cut that Apple takes from purchases.

Apple says that Spotify is again trying to get around its ‌App Store‌ rules, and the Cupertino company claims that Spotify's audiobooks update is not in line with guidelines that cover how apps can communicate with users about purchasing options outside of the ‌App Store‌.

Apple last year agreed to an App Store rule change that allows developers to use communications like email to share information methods about payment options that are available outside of an iOS app, but Spotify is running into issues attempting to implement this feature. With the rule change, Spotify wanted to direct customers to buy books online to listen to in the app, rather than giving Apple a cut of its audiobook sales.

Apple apparently told Spotify that it can send customers emails about online purchases, but Spotify is not able to offer a button inside of the app to request emails. The feature was designed with Spotify's legal team involved, and Apple initially approved the update in September, but later reversed course, rejecting subsequent updates.

Spotify designed a nine-step process for purchasing an audiobook, which involved a customer tapping on an audiobook and seeing a screen with a lock over the play button. Pressing on the play button provided customers with a page where they could request information on how to buy a book through an email, and the email offered up a link to purchase the book.

An Apple spokesperson told MacRumors that Apple "has no issues" with reader apps like Spotify adding audiobook content, but Spotify did not follow Apple's guidelines around in-app communications directing users outside the app.

The App Store was designed to be a great business opportunity for developers, and we fully support initiatives to introduce new features in apps that provide lasting value for users. We have no issue with reader apps adding audiobook content to their apps, linking users out to websites to sign up for services, or communicating with customers externally about alternative purchase options. The Spotify app was rejected for not following the guidelines regarding including explicit in-app communications to direct users outside the app to make digital purchases. We provided them with clear guidance on how to resolve the issue, and approved their app after they made changes that brought it into compliance.

After the multiple rejections from Apple, Spotify released a version of the app that removes information about how to purchase an audiobook from the Spotify website, which Apple did approve. Spotify now informs users that there is no option to buy an audiobook in the app. "We know it's not ideal," says Spotify in the app text.

spotify audiobooks app
Spotify in 2019 filed a regulatory complaint with the European Union over Apple's ‌App Store‌ practices, and it maintains an anti-Apple "Time to Play Fair" website. Spotify has continued to meet with European regulators, but the case has not concluded as of yet. Spotify has also sided with Epic Games in the Epic Games v. Apple legal battle, and it participates in the "Coalition for App Fairness" alongside ‌Epic Games‌, Tile, and others who are unhappy with Apple's "anti-competitive" policies.

Tag: Spotify

Top Rated Comments

sorgo † Avatar
18 months ago
Apple, sweetie, you trying to give those antitrust legislators more ammo? ?
Score: 91 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ralph_sws Avatar
18 months ago
Apple seems to be playing not entirely fair with spotify
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mrkevinfinnerty Avatar
18 months ago
Shame how much Apple have weaponised the App Store. They have just invited regulatory scrutiny.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TinaBelcher Avatar
18 months ago
these are the moments I’m so ashamed and embarrassed to be an Apple product user. Apple is so vindictive and will do whatever it takes to make sure no other company have any sort of success. It’s like that one “good friend” we’ve all had, that secretly did not want us to succeed in life, and tried to sabotage any opportunities
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wackery Avatar
18 months ago
I normally take apple’s side on these kinds of things, but not in this case
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
1557750 Avatar
18 months ago
Apple, share with the other kids…
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

10 New Things Your iPhone Can Do in Next Week's iOS 17.4 Update

Friday March 1, 2024 1:30 am PST by
Apple will this month release iOS 17.4, its biggest iPhone software update of the year so far, featuring a number of features and changes that users have been anticipating for quite a while. Below, we've listed 10 new things that your iPhone will be able to do after you've installed the update, which is projected to arrive by March 7. When the day arrives, be sure to check Settings ➝...
Apple Maps vs Google Maps Feature

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps: Which Is Better?

Friday March 1, 2024 7:10 am PST by
Apple Maps has been providing navigational guidance to Apple users for almost 13 and a half years now, and much has changed about the app in that time. However, according to data from Canalys, the overwhelming majority of iPhones in the U.S. still have Google Maps downloaded as an alternative to Apple Maps, which comes preinstalled on all iPhones. We want to hear from MacRumors readers. Which do...
apple tv plus banner

Apple TV+ Gains Over 50 Movies for a Limited Time

Friday March 1, 2024 6:29 am PST by
Apple TV+ today gained over 50 movies, adding to its back catalog of content for a limited time. The collection includes a large number of popular and classic titles. Subscribers can access the movies in a "Great Movies on Apple TV+" section in the Apple TV app. Some titles are also available in 3D. Movies in the collection include: 21 Jump Street 300 American Sniper Argo ...
airpods pro 2 pink

Apple Releases New Beta Firmware for AirPods Pro 2

Thursday February 29, 2024 11:41 am PST by
Apple today introduced a new beta firmware update for the AirPods Pro 2, both the USB-C and Lightning versions. The new firmware is version 6E188, up from the prior 6B34 firmware released in December. Apple does not often provide details or notes on what features might be included in the refreshed firmware, so it is unclear what's new. Note that this software is limited to developers at the...
iOS 18 Mock Feature Baubles

Will Your iPhone Support iOS 18? Here's What the Latest Rumor Says

Thursday February 29, 2024 7:29 am PST by
iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 are still over three months away from being unveiled, but we may already know which devices will be compatible with the updates. iOS 18 will be compatible with the same iPhone models as iOS 17, meaning that the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR from 2018 will remain supported for at least another year, according to information shared this week by a source with a...
maxresdefault

Apple Spent More Than $10 Billion on Apple Car Before Canceling Project

Wednesday February 28, 2024 5:13 pm PST by
Apple spent more than $10 billion working on the Apple Car over the last decade, according to a report from The New York Times that details the issues the project faced during development. Apple first launched the project in 2014 and let it flounder for more than a decade before calling it off earlier this week. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Money was spent on...