Tech giant Apple Inc. has said that it will now let “reader” apps, like Netflix, Kindle, and Spotify, directly link their users to their own sites on the web in order to sign up, allowing them to potentially maneuver around Apple’s in-app payment method.
Interestingly, as of now, the apps that have been allowed to do so are only those that already carry out a major chunk of their signing up processes away from the App Store, in a bid to cut back on the hefty 30 percent commission that the tech giant makes on such transactions.
A Change In App Review
Apple issued a press release regarding the move, claiming that it will bring to a close a probe by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JTFC). Moreover, the concession is reportedly only applicable to the so-called “reader apps” for now. This category was put in place by Apple a while ago, in a bid to allow apps like Netflix and Hulu to have their users on Apple sign in through their existing accounts, instead of signing up through the App Store for a new subscription. This meant that these users wouldn’t have to pay any subscription fees (unless they go premium, that his), of which, a large amount is already cut by Apple itself.
The agreement has since been confirmed by the JTFC as well, saying that following the move, Apple will no longer be in contravention of the Antimonopoly Act. This finally puts to rest a probe that the agency has been carrying out into Apple’s functioning since 2016. The JTFC has also revealed that Apple will be providing it with yearly reports on the status of app view transparency, for the next three years, after having proposed to change its app review guidelines.
This would be a (albeit small) step away from the current situation, where Netflix and Spotify don’t let users sign up through the app at all. Only a sign-in page is provided, with no link to the website. Amazon Kindle, on the other hand, does let users create a new Amazon account, but doesn’t allow for purchasing books through the app unless you have a subscription.
Apple says that reader apps will only be able to provide a single link to their website on the app. Nevertheless, the company will help these applications protect their users while redirecting them to external websites.
Only For Those Apps That Don’t Bring In Profits?
Apple has also apparently redefined its understanding of what makes a “reader app.” The company had earlier said that such apps “may” allow users to gain access to content purchased previously, its new press release asserts that no “in-app digital goods and services” are up for purchase through reader apps.
As such, seeing as how the new concession is only applicable to reader apps, one may note that it is, in fact, being provided to only those apps that don’t bring in any major in-app commissions to Apple anyway.
An example of the same can be Spotify, which has always been a vocal critic of the iPhone-maker’s ways. Following the news, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek took to Twitter to say that the move by Apple is only “a step in the right direction.”
Tech giant Apple Inc. has said that it will now let “reader” apps link their users to their own sites on the web in order to sign u