Apple has announced important changes to its policy — some iOS apps will be allowed to contain links to external resources for managing accounts outside of the Apple ecosystem, and even for payments without the traditional commission of 15-30%.
We are talking about the so-called «reader» applications — software that displays content «outside of iOS», including videos, music, magazines, newspapers and books purchased from third-party services.
Previously, Apple explicitly banned developers from redirecting users to subscribe to third-party sites and make payments in addition to the app store — we are talking about services such as Spotify or Netflix. Instead, users are tied to Apple’s payment system, which charges developers a mandatory percentage.
This rule will still not apply to all transactions through the app store, such as in-app purchases of digital goods for any purpose.
This practice is known to be one of the main causes of complaints from developers against the company, accusing Apple of «uncompetitive» practices. This is not only about small developers, but also about giants like Spotify, whose complaint played a role in the EU decision that Apple’s behavior violates the rules of free competition.
According to reports, the decision was made as part of a deal with one of the regulators, the Japan Fair Competition Commission. At the same time, Apple said that the new rules will apply not only in Japan, but worldwide from 2022. It is not known whether the changes will affect prices for users — not they, but software developers will be spared the commission.