The spat that broke out between HMV and Apple over the iOS version of the Hilco-owned retailer’s music app has inevitably been positioned as a clash between old and new.
The spat that broke out between HMV and Apple over the iOS version of the Hilco-owned retailer’s music app has inevitably been positioned as a clash between old and new and created more noise than the launch of the digital service itself.
The app, which allows people to browse and buy MP3 downloads from HMV’s relaunched digital music store, was released on October 17, but has been temporarily removed from the App Store by Apple for violating its guidelines on in-app purchases.
It is convenient to see it as a defensive reaction by the tech giant to the start of a digital fight back by HMV. The retailer’s chairman Paul McGowan claimed on Twitter that the “first rumblings of discontent” from Apple emerged as the app went past 5,000 downloads.
The conflicting interests of Apple’s position as both a retailer and route to market for other ecommerce brands does raise some pertinent questions, but the suggestions on some tech blogs that its actions are anti-competitive are wide of the mark.
Anyone who has dealt with Apple over an app launch will know of the stringent rules governing what can and cannot find its way onto the App Store. What seems more surprising is not that Apple pulled the app but that HMV managed to get it passed in the first place.
Although Apple’s decision was probably inevitable, any fears that this will put the brakes on HMV’s potential revival should be put at ease by its alternative routes to market, including Google Play. The great press this incident has drawn has placed HMV’s digital future firmly in the spotlight.