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Apple will leave video and music apps, but not games, tied to other payment options

Apple made another concession related to its restrictive App Store rules, saying it would allow multiple types of media apps to connect to their own websites, where users can purchase subscriptions without Apple receiving. his usual commission. Apple was forced to make the switch to settle an investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC). The change will take effect in early 2022, Apple said in an announcement yesterday.

“The update will allow developers of ‘reading’ apps to include an in-app link to their website so that users can create or manage an account,” Apple said. “While the deal has been made with the JFTC, Apple will apply this change globally to all of the store’s reading apps. Reading apps provide previously purchased content or content subscriptions for digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video. “

The JFTC issued a statement saying the planned change “would eliminate” Apple’s alleged violations of Japan’s antimonopoly law. The regulator said it had “decided to close the investigation into this matter after the JFTC confirmed that the measure had been taken.”

Games not included – Epic has objections

The change will make it easier for iPhone and iPad media apps like Netflix and Spotify to direct users to other payment options. But games are notably absent from the list of applications that will benefit from the change. Fortnite Maker Epic Games, which sued Apple for its practices in the App Store, said restricting the new option to certain types of apps didn’t make sense.

“In Apple’s carefully worded security statement, it’s hard to discern why it’s safe while Fortnite accepting direct payments remains dangerous ”, Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic wrote on Twitter. Apple “is doing a literally day after day recalculation of divide and conquer in hopes of getting away with most of its tied selling practices,” he also said. wrote.

Most of Apple’s App Store revenue has been generated from games, so Apple is obviously reluctant to help game developers bypass App Store commissions.

Apple says limits are needed for safety

Apple’s security statement Sweeney referred to says:

To ensure a safe and seamless user experience, App Store guidelines require developers to sell digital services and subscriptions using Apple’s in-app payment system. Since developers of reading apps do not offer in-app digital goods and services for purchase, Apple has agreed with the JFTC to allow developers of these apps to share a single link to their website. to help users set up and manage their account.

Before the change takes effect in early 2022, Apple will update its guidelines and review process to ensure users of reading apps continue to have a safe experience on the App Store. While in-app purchases through the App Store commerce system remain the safest and most reliable payment methods for users, Apple will also help developers of reading apps protect users when they link them to a site. External web to make purchases.

Sweeney took issue with Apple’s claim that “developers of reading apps do not offer in-app digital goods and services for purchase.”

“That’s not really true now, is it? Amazon Video has digital goods for sale, like individual movies for purchase or rent, which can be experienced in the app,” said writes Sweeney.

Class action settlement

Apple also recently agreed to let developers notify users of purchasing options available outside of the iOS App Store. While this applies to all types of apps, it will only allow communications with users outside of the app, such as through email addresses developers collect from users. This change is part of a class action settlement that has yet to be approved by a US court.

The class action settlement received a cold reception from the Coalition for App Fairness, an advocacy group launched by Epic, Spotify and other companies. The group said the regulation does not solve the structural problems of the App Store and that it is a “sham” and a “desperate attempt to avoid judgment by courts, regulators and legislators around the world ”.

Spotify CEO: “That doesn’t solve the problem”

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said yesterday’s announcement of changes didn’t go far enough. “It’s a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t solve the problem,” he said. wrote. “Application developers want clear and fair rules that apply to all applications. Our goal is to restore competition once and for all, not one arbitrary and selfish step at the same time.”

Horacio Gutierrez, Legal Director of Spotify underline that the app store legislation pending in Congress would do more for app makers, as the proposed law would ban “the requirement to use the payment system in the app”, prohibit “communication restrictions by developers to their users inside or outside the app, “prohibit” self-preference “by Apple, and impose other requirements. This bill would also require Apple to allow third-party app stores and side-downloaded apps.

We have reached out to Netflix regarding Apple’s announcement and will update this article if we get a response.

South Korea plans to impose a law that would prevent app store owners from requiring developers to use in-house payment systems. Meanwhile, in the United States, Epic Games’ lawsuit against Apple was recently tried. Epic alleged that Apple’s in-app purchase requirements and other restrictions (such as a ban on sideloading and third-party app stores) violated U.S. antitrust law. Epic has sought an injunction forcing Apple to “take all necessary steps to end illegal behavior and restore competition.” The parties are awaiting a verdict.



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