Both Spotify and Elon Musk have been opponents of Apple’s App Store criteria in the past. Now, the two took to Twitter this weekend to dispute the rules once again. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek called the standards “absurd,” and Elon Musk said they posed a “serious scaling problem.”
The debate began last week when Twitter allowed all users to offer “subscriptions” on the network. Musk responded to user questions about the news by explaining why subscriptions take longer to display on the iPhone than they do on the site. He emphasized that subscriptions take a few days longer to become active on the iPhone than on the web because all subscriptions currently have to be approved by Apple.
This is related to the App Store’s criteria for in-app digital content subscriptions, which Twitter must follow because these new subscriptions are available through the iPhone app. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek responded by quoting Musk’s comments and once again condemning Apple’s policy.
This is becoming a serious scaling challenge
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 30, 2023
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Spotify has been one of the most vocal opponents of the App Store standards. The company has also made antitrust allegations against Apple in the EU, claiming that while Apple can offer Apple Music subscriptions for free within the app, Spotify would have to give Apple 30% (or 15% from the second year) of its subscriber revenue if it did the same.
Elon Musk has previously criticized Apple’s App Store pricing. He has likened it to a 30% internet tax, claiming that the fees are a huge barrier to the development and profitability of software developers.
The battle over App Store criteria has raged for years, with many developers and businesses claiming that the rules are overly restrictive and unfairly favor Apple’s own apps and services. As more companies move to subscription-based business models, the issue of in-app purchases and their associated costs becomes more pressing.
It remains to be seen whether Apple will change its App Store policies in response to complaints from Spotify, Elon Musk, and other developers. However, as more companies speak out against the rules and call for greater transparency and fairness in the app marketplace, the pressure on the company is likely to increase.