Spotify Complains About Apple Complaining About Spotify

Spotify says its iPhone app updates in the EU are getting held up by Apple
Apple’s appealing a $2 billion fine over Spotify’s complaints.

Consider this possibility: that Spotify pushed out this update as fast as humanly possible with the intent to then complain about it when when it wasn't immediately approved by Apple.

I say consider this, because it's exactly what I predicted would happen nine days ago:

The key phrase in there is "if Apple approves a newly submitted update". To quote Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road"that's bait".

This is obviously a (well-timed and played) attempt by Spotify to keep the pressure on Apple in light of this week's EU fine against the company (after heavy lobbying from Spotify). And, of course, just ahead of the initial reaction by the EU to Apple's proposed changes to their software and policies to be in line with the DMA rules. Which Apple keeps tweaking at the last minute, undoubtedly knowing that the EU reaction to their changes aren't likely going to be glowing...

Spotify was clearly baiting Apple here. Either approve the update immediately or "somebody's about to get a fuckin slap". But again, as I noted, that immediate approval was unlikely to happen:

My guess would be that Apple waits until after the initial EU thoughts on their proposed changes until deciding what to do here. But we'll see soon enough!

And, actually, it would seem that Apple pretty clearly signaled their intent to approve this (and other such changes). Just three days ago, Apple issued a few updates to their DMA proposed changes – one of those:

Linking out to purchase. When directing users to complete a transaction for digital goods or services on an external webpage, developers can choose how to design promotions, discounts, and other deals. The Apple-provided design templates, which are optimized for key purchase and promotional use cases, are now optional.

What does that sound like? It sounds like Apple is on the verge of approving the changes Spotify submitted, they just didn't want to do it as a special one-off approval – and certainly not for Spotify now! – and instead wanted to solidify the change in policy for all apps. Spotify certainly read about this change, and has to believe their approval is coming, but again, the intent here, I believe, was less about the app update and more to keep the pressure on Apple. Hence, the email complaint to the EU.

To be fair, Apple gave Spotify a very clear opening to complain since, as Apple noted in their own words in their own complaint to the EU (well, to the public!):

Our App Review team has reviewed and approved 421 versions of the Spotify app — usually with same-day turnaround — and frequently expedites reviews at Spotify’s request.

Which, naturally, Spotify calls out in their new complaint:

“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.”

Again, there would seem to be very real reasons for Apple's delay in approval here, and I think they're likely to approve it (unless Spotify did something outside of what they claim they're doing with the update), but by noting how fast they typically approve Spotify app updates, Apple left this door open. Thus continuing the PR wars...