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Spotify’s victory: Audiobooks and in-app subscriptions to roll out in March


Spotify users in Europe will soon be able to purchase audiobooks and subscription plans directly within the music-streaming app, starting from March. This development follows the implementation of the region’s new competition law for Big Tech, announced by the Swedish company on Wednesday. The strategic move is aimed at sidestepping Apple’s 30% fee for in-app purchases through its App Store, a contentious issue between app developers and the tech giant.

Spotify, headquartered in Stockholm, has been entangled in a long-standing legal battle, contending that it was compelled to raise its monthly subscription prices to accommodate the costs associated with Apple’s App Store regulations. The company’s U.S.-listed shares experienced a roughly 2% increase in response to the news.

In a blog post, Spotify expressed its relief with the new Digital Markets Act (DMA), which mandates that all major tech firms comply by March 7. The DMA requires companies to treat their own products and services in the same manner as they do those of their competitors.

Apple, however, intends to challenge the European Union’s decision to include the entire App Store in the bloc’s new digital antitrust list, as reported by Bloomberg News in November. Now, Apple sought to dismiss a collective lawsuit amounting to approximately $1 billion, representing over 1,500 app developers, over its App Store rules, in a London tribunal.

Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also criticized Apple’s App Store policies and fee structure, emphasizing the conflict of interest they create. On Wednesday, Meta expressed its interest in supporting developers by stating, “We’ve always been interested in helping developers distribute their apps, and new options would add more competition in this space. Developers deserve more ways to easily get their apps to the people that want them.” The evolving landscape underscores the ongoing tensions and competition dynamics within the tech industry.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Published: 25 Jan 2024, 11:33 AM IST



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