Report: Apple blocks Spotify app update after in-app subscription removal

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Enlarge / Spotify says Apple is using its privileged position to hurt Spotify’s chances against Apple Music.

Apple Music has been around for about a year now, and despite being a little late to the game, Apple boasts that it has managed to pick up about 15 million paying subscribers. Spotify has at least twice that many users, but the company is worried that Apple is using its privileged position on iPads and iPhones to push Apple Music at the expense of third-party services.

According to a report from Recode, Apple has blocked an update to the iOS Spotify app, citing “business model rules.” Spotify no longer offers iOS users the ability to subscribe to its Premium tier from within the app, a move which inconveniences users but more relevantly denies Apple its typical 30 percent cut of the revenue. Spotify hasn’t specified exactly why the update was blocked or whether it has broken one of Apple’s App Store review guidelines, but in any case the company’s lawyers allege that it “raises serious concerns under both U.S. and EU competition law” and “[diminishes] the competitiveness of Spotify on iOS and as a rival to Apple Music.”

The iOS Spotify app used to offer in-app subscriptions but charged users $12.99 instead of the standard $9.99 to compensate for Apple’s cut. Spotify recently offered iOS users a three-month trial of Spotify for $0.99 if they signed up through Spotify’s site rather than the app, but pressure from Apple prompted the company to remove that promotion and the in-app subscription option altogether.

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