Apple pulls HMV’s music-selling app from App Store

23 Oct 2013

Image via Kuha455405/Wikimedia Commons

Despite approving the HMV app last month, Apple has now removed it from the App Store for violating its guidelines.

Anyone familiar with Apple’s strict App Store rules was surprised to see the HMV app released on iOS last week, as clause 11.13 prohibits the sale of goods and services to be used outside of the application through in-app purchases.

HMV’s app violates this rule by allowing users to buy music from the retailer’s digital catalogue – which also makes the app a direct competitor to Apple’s own iTunes service. However, the app was granted approval by Apple on 15 September and released on 17 October.

But it didn’t take long for Apple to realise this mistake. The “first rumblings of discontent from Cupertino” came on 18 October after the release of the HMV app saw 5,000 downloads overnight. This is according to HMV chair Paul McGowan, who has been tweeting about the disagreement.

On that same day, Apple requested that HMV remove the app, which HMV declined to do. Apple then responded with demands that the music-buying feature be removed by 6pm on 21 October – a deadline McGowan referred to as “unrealistic”. Unable to meet this request, Apple was prompted to remove the HMV app from the App Store.

The temporary removal does not affect users who already downloaded the HMV app and they should see no changes to functionality. HMV is now working on an app update that will meet Apple’s approval while retaining functions such as image and sound search and the ability to listen to 30-second previews of tracks.

The Android version of the HMV app is still going unhindered and HMV plans to release both versions in Ireland on 24 October, alongside the launch of a new HTML5 store.  

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.