Apple is rejecting Spotify's app over audiobook sales

Apple App Store Awards 2021 Hero
Apple App Store (Image credit: Apple)

Spotify and Apple are getting into it again.

According to a report from The New York Times, Apple has rejected the last three app update submissions from Spotify as the companies continue their longstanding App Store feud — this time over audiobooks.

Apple and Spotify have been battling it out over the App Store rules for years now and their latest campaign in that battle has fallen into place after Spotify decided that, in addition to music and podcasts, it would now get into the audiobooks business.

Spotify attempted to start selling audiobooks in its app but, due to Apple trying to take its usual cut from those sales, has tried to direct users to its website to make those purchases. Specifically, it gave users a get an email... to make the purchase on its website. This is where we're at with developers trying to comply with App Store rules.

However, Apple still wasn't happy and said that method was still in violation of its rules. While Spotify could proactively email its users, they are apparently not allowed to give them a button in the app to generate an email.

Spotify has given up...for now

After try trying and failing three times to get some version of this process approved, Spotify has relented and now just tells users that they can't buy an audiobook in the app. The company points out to users that the process is "not ideal."

An Apple spokesperson said that "Apple does not have objections to audiobooks in the Spotify app, but Spotify cannot circumvent the rules around web addresses and language encouraging customers to make purchases outside of the app."

Apple continues to create heat for itself over its App Store rules and this is yet another case that gives companies and developers like Spotify ammunition in their campaign against such rules with regulators.

Hopefully, Spotify will be able to pivot from audiobooks with its long-awaited HiFi plan that the company accidentally leaked earlier this month.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.