Apple's iPhone App Store rules labeled 'absurd' as Elon Musk and Spotify's CEO pile on

iPad Pro screen with App Store
(Image credit: iMore)

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek and Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk have both taken it upon themselves to complain about Apple's App Store rules once more.

While neither man has been complimentary about Apple's App Store rules in the past, the latest discussion came after Twitter launched a new subscription feature that allows users to sell subscriptions to their content. But it appears that creating those subscriptions can take a little longer on iPhones because of Apple's rules.

Replying to the reasoning, Ek called the move "absurd" and suggested that Apple's approach simply wasn't scalable.

'This is absurd'

The discussion kicked off when Musk told Twitter users that "it takes a few days longer for subscriptions to go active on iPhone vs web" because "all subscriptions currently have to be approved by Apple." That would suggest that each Twitter creator's subscription is being turned into an individual in-app purchase in the App Store, meaning Apple must check each subscription every time one is created.

That's something that could prove problematic if a lot of people create subscriptions — something not lost on Spotify's CEO.

"This is absurd," Ek started. "How would this scale with every creator on every platform on the internet? And what about if a platform thought the right fee was 0% or 10% instead of Apple's 30%?"

The 30% cut Apple takes from App Store transactions has long been a bone of contention for Spotify and others, so it's little wonder that Ek took the opportunity to mention it here. Musk is also no stranger to complaining about Apple and the App Store, having previously also made his feelings about that 30% cut clear.

As for Apple, it believes the best iPhone is one that's protected by the App Store which means no sideloading and no payments outside of its walled garden. But with those walls starting to crumble as global governmental pressure mounts it remains to be seen where Apple will go from here.

In the meantime, Twitter subscriptions are going to take a little while to go live and you can blame Apple, apparently.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.