Mar 15, 2024 2 min read

Spotify asks European Commission to force Apple to approve its app amends

After the EU competition regulator ordered Apple to change its rules around the sign-posting of payment options within iOS apps, Spotify immediately updated its app within the EU. But Apple is yet to approve those updates and Spotify now wants to European Commission to intervene

Spotify asks European Commission to force Apple to approve its app amends

Spotify has written to the European Commission urging it to put pressure on Apple to approve changes the streaming service has made to its iOS app following the recent ruling by the European Union's competition regulator. Spotify says Apple would normally review app submissions within 24 hours but it is still waiting after nine days, suggesting delaying tactics are being employed. 

The delays - Spotify says in a letter to the EC, seen by The Verge - are “yet another example of how Apple, if unchecked, will seek to circumvent and/or not comply with the Commission’s decision. Given Apple’s track record, Spotify is concerned that Apple’s delay is intentional and is aimed at delaying or avoiding compliance altogether". 

Spotify is possibly hoping that EC intervention will force Apple to approve its changes, after a similar intervention last week resulted in the tech giant backtracking on a decision that was stopping Fortnite maker Epic Games from making changes to its presence on iOS devices. 

In the Epic case, European regulators were forcing compliance with the now in force EU Digital Markets Act. Whereas the changes being made by Spotify are in response to the recent ruling by the EU competition regulator in relation to Apple's App Store rules. 

However, both Epic and Spotify basically have the same objective, exploiting recent developments in the EU to make changes to their respective iOS apps that were previously banned by one of Apple's App Store rules. That rule is the anti-steering provision, which restricts the ability of app developers to sign-post payment options outside of their iOS apps where they don't have to pay Apple a commission on transactions. 

After a lengthy investigation prompted by a complaint from Spotify, the EU regulator concluded that that rule was anti-competitive, fining Apple €1.8 billion and ordering it to allow in-app signposting to other payment options. The Digital Markets Act had already basically forced a change to that rule anyway, although Spotify and others have criticised how Apple plans to comply with the DMA. 

The day after the ruling from the EU competition regulator, on 5 Mar, Spotify submitted an update to its iOS app so that it now features information on its different subscription options, including pricing, with links to where users can sign up for a premium account on the Spotify website. 

“It’s been nine days now and we’re still waiting to hear from Apple about our app submission to show EU consumers pricing and a link to our website, which we are now authorised to do by the European Commission’s decision on the music streaming case”, a Spotify spokesperson told The Verge. 

“Apple’s delay directly conflicts with their claim that they turn around reviews on app submissions within 24 hours", they added, "and it also flies in the face of the timeline for adoption the Commission laid out". 

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