Apple’s been at loggerheads with developers over its App Store practices for a while now. Most notably, the 30% (or 15% if you’re one of the luckier devs) cut it takes in commission on all in-app purchases, as well as its forcing of developers to manage in-app purchases through the App Store’s billing platform, rather than a third-party one. Naturally, the two go hand in hand.
Well, Apple is backing down ever so slightly, and will now let developers of “reader” apps with their own subscription services dodge the App Store tax by linking to their own sign-up sites.
Apple concedes (sort of)
According to a press release, the change in App Store policy closes an investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), which has been scrutinising the Californian tech giant over suspicion of anti-competitive behaviour since 2016. This change will allow apps like Netflix, Amazon Kindle and Spotify to link to their own sign-up pages rather than deal with subscriptions through the App Store. Apple’s reasoning for allowing these particular apps a pass is that they don’t offer in-app purchases. Rather, they provide, “previously purchased content or content subscriptions for digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video.”
In short, though it wouldn’t say it in so many words, Apple’s letting them off the hook because they don’t rake in in-app purchases for it to carve a sweet 15% to 30% commission out of. So they’re no big loss monetarily in that regard, which makes you wonder how much of a change concession this really is.
This change will go into effect in early 2022, and before then Apple will update its guidelines and review process accordingly for users and developers.