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Spotify Says Apple is Blocking Its App Store Updates Following .95 Billion EU Fine

Spotify Apple EU updates

Photo Credit: Apple + Spotify / CC by 4.0

Spotify accuses Apple of blocking its App Store updates in the EU in the face of the recent $1.9 billion fine issued against Apple by the European Union commission.

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) came into effect on March 7th in the EU, enabling developers to finally distribute their apps to iOS users outside of the App Store as well as offer alternative payment methods for in-app purchases — something Apple has long fought to avoid.

Spotify was quick to submit an update of its iOS app to Apple ahead of the DMA start date. But according to complaints unearthed by The Verge, Spotify now claims that Apple is blocking its updates.

Faced with scrutiny by the European Union Commission for a “lack of DMA compliance,” not to mention the 1.8 billion euro fine ($1.95 billion) issued against the company by the EU Commission, Apple has been on the defensive. But the company denies any wrongdoing; it’s not unheard of for Apple to delay the approval of app updates with which it doesn’t agree, and its battle with Spotify has been a lengthy one.

“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,” says an email from Spotify to the EU Commission. Spotify spokesperson Jeanne Moran told the press, “[Apple’s delay] directly conflicts with their claim that they turn around reviews on app submissions within 24 hours, and it also flies in the face of the timeline for adoption the Commission laid out.”

While Apple has not commented to the press, a letter posted on the company’s website ahead of the DMA implementation posits that Apple is the victim in all of this, with far less market share than Spotify, even after acquiescing to a seemingly endless stream of Spotify app updates over the years.

“Today, Spotify has a 56 percent share of Europe’s music streaming market — more than double their closest competitor’s — and pays Apple nothing for the services that have helped make them one of the most recognizable brands in the world,” writes Apple. “A large part of their success is due to the App Store, along with all the tools and technology that Spotify uses to build, update, and share their app with Apple users around the world.”

Nevertheless, Apple says it is “proud to play a key role” in Spotify’s success, though perhaps that statement is a bit more tongue-in-cheek than might appear at first glance.

“When it comes to doing business, not everyone’s going to agree on the best deal. But it sure is hard to beat free,” Apple continues. “But free isn’t enough for Spotify.”

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