Update, 7:19pm ET: In a statement to 9to5Mac, Apple fires back at Spotify’s claims.
“We’re happy to support the success of all developers — including Spotify, which has the most successful music streaming app in the world. The changes we’re sharing for apps in the European Union give developers choice — with new options to distribute iOS apps and process payments. Every developer can choose to stay on the same terms in place today. And under the new terms, more than 99% of developers would pay the same or less to Apple.”
Apple is facing more criticism for its announced its plan about how it plans to comply with the Digital Markets Act in the European Union. After pushback from Epic CEO Tim Sweeney and the Coalition for App Fairness, both Spotify and Mozilla have also now come out against Apple’s plans.
“This is extortion, plain and simple,” writes Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. “Apple has proposed an unworkable alternative that developers would have to be locked into until the end of their businesses.”
Ek outlines his issues with Apple’s announcements in a blog post. Essentially, he believes that the combination of the new 0.50 cent Euro fee and a lack of flexibility around App Store in-app payments makes this a bad deal for most developers.
Apple is making a developer’s choice between the status quo and this new program as difficult as possible. Apple is now saying, ‘sure, we’ll let you link out or offer your own payment methods… but you still owe us a commission for even doing that (plus that new flat 0.50 cent Euro fee).’ This combination of fees means that, in most instances, if your app is popular, you would pay the same or even more to Apple than under the prior rules. Apple is making the DMA hurt even more for developers, throwing them an unworkable alternative that will stifle their businesses immediately.
The criticism from Spotify comes after the company teased its plans to bring in-app purchases back to its iOS app. As for whether that’s still in the cards, Ek says he’s not quite sure, and that ultimately it’s going to come down to the European Commission.
Earlier this week, thanks to the clear language in the DMA, we shared how we plan to offer customers in the EU more choice, more control and better experiences. Today, that future is less clear. And it comes down to a fundamental question: Will the European Commission follow through with its intent to right-size Apple’s abuse of power? Or will the DMA be nice in theory, but in practice, have no substantive meaning for most developers?
All that is required is enforcing the very law many worked so hard to accomplish. The ball is in your court, European Commissioners, and once and for all you must reject this blatant disregard of the very principles you worked so hard to establish.
“But as Apple has just shown the world, they don’t think the rules apply to them,” Ek continues. “Essentially, the old tax was rendered unacceptable under the DMA, so they created a new one masquerading as compliance with the law.”
You can read Ek’s full blog post on the Spotify website.
Meanwhile, in an interview with The Verge, Mozilla called Apple’s new rules around browser engines “as painful as possible” for Firefox. While Apple is opening the iPhone up to third-party browser engines for the first time, spokesperson Damiano DeMonte says Mozilla not happy that the change only applies in the European Union.
“We are still reviewing the technical details but are extremely disappointed with Apple’s proposed plan to restrict the newly-announced BrowserEngineKit to EU-specific apps. The effect of this would be to force an independent browser like Firefox to build and maintain two separate browser implementations — a burden Apple themselves will not have to bear.”
Apple’s proposals fail to give consumers viable choices by making it as painful as possible for others to provide competitive alternatives to Safari. This is another example of Apple creating barriers to prevent true browser competition on iOS.”
Apple’s proposed changes will be included in iOS 17.4, which will be released to the general public in March.
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