Spotify Submits App Update to EU App Store Amid Apple’s €1.84 Billion Fine

In the wake of the European Commission’s staggering €1.84 billion ($2 billion) fine on Apple for anti-competitive practices in the music streaming market, Spotify takes swift action by submitting a new version to the EU App Store. The update, currently pending approval from Apple, aims to provide users with pricing and feature information on Spotify’s various plans while offering a direct link for subscription purchases through the audio company’s website.

The European Commission’s decision, coupled with comments from EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager, demanded that Apple cease its anti-steering practices. Vestager stated, “From now on, Apple will have to allow music streaming developers to communicate freely with their own users — be that within the app, by email, or any other ways of communicating.”

Empowered by the Commission’s ruling, Spotify’s updated version aims to address limitations previously imposed by Apple. The current app displays messages such as “You can’t upgrade to Premium in the app. We know, it’s not ideal.” The new submission seeks to eliminate these restrictions and enhance user experience by providing transparent pricing and direct subscription links.

In January, Spotify had hinted at changes in response to the Digital Markets Act (DMA), including the ability to subscribe through in-app purchases and buy individual audiobooks directly within the app. However, Apple swiftly released its compliance method, dashing hopes for several anticipated changes.

Apple’s compliance method comes with a new “core technology fee” for companies accepting the changes, potentially leading to significant costs for major platforms like Spotify with millions of downloads.

Spotify, in response to the European Commission’s decision, termed it a “powerful message,” emphasizing that even a “monopoly like Apple” cannot wield power abusively over how other companies interact with their customers.

Apple, planning to appeal the EC’s decision, countered by stating that Spotify has been “the biggest beneficiary” of the App Store. Apple argued that Spotify, holding a majority market share in Europe’s music streaming market, pays “Apple nothing for the services that have helped make them one of the most recognizable brands in the world.” The clash between these tech giants continues against the backdrop of evolving regulations and anti-competitive scrutiny.