The Oklahoman

Apple eases App Store rules again, to allow outside signups

Restrictio­n gave Apple billions in commission­s

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LONDON – Apple is relaxing rules to allow some app developers such as Spotify, Netflix and digital publishers to include an outside link so users can sign up for paid subscripti­on accounts.

The iPhone maker said it’s making a small adjustment to its strict App Store rules for developers of so-called reader apps, in order to resolve an investigat­ion by regulators in Japan.

It’s the latest concession by Apple as it faces global pressure over the longstandi­ng rules. One of the biggest complaints from app makers such as Spot

ify was about Apple’s requiremen­t that subscripti­ons only be bought through iPhone apps, allowing the company to take a commission of up to 30%.

“The update will allow developers of ‘reader’ apps to include an in-app link to their website for users to set up or manage an account,” the company said. Reader apps provide digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video.

The changes will take effect globally in early 2022. Last week, Apple agreed as part of a preliminar­y U.S. legal settlement that app developers would be allowed to inform users by email about how to pay for services outside the app. Apple also faces the outcome of a U.S. court battle with Fortnite maker Epic Games over restrictio­ns on payment options outside its mobile devices, as well as antitrust scrutiny from European Union regulators over the issue.

The changes pave the way for developers to more aggressive­ly encourage users to pay in other ways, and deprive Apple of billions of dollars in revenue.

Unhappy with the previous restrictio­ns, Spotify and Netflix had stopped allowing users to pay for subscripti­ons through iPhone apps. Users instead had to sign up and pay for their services via their webpages, but because Apple also didn’t allow the companies to inform users they could do this.

 ?? MARK LENNIHAN/AP FILE ?? Apple said it’s making a small adjustment to its strict App Store rules for developers of so-called reader apps
MARK LENNIHAN/AP FILE Apple said it’s making a small adjustment to its strict App Store rules for developers of so-called reader apps

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