Apple to let reader apps guide users to non-App Store purchases following Japanese watchdog survey • The Register

Apple has announced that it will make a small but significant change to its App Store worldwide after the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) investigated the US giant’s treatment of so-called reading apps.

More specifically, the iPhone goliath will allow, from the beginning of next year, these applications “to include a link in the application to their Web site so that the users can create or manage an account”. And by these apps we mean apps that offer digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music and videos that can be purchased or subscribed.

Apple will also “help developers of reading applications protect users when they link them to an external website to make purchases.”

To understand this change, consider the Kindle app for iOS, which allows users to read eBooks they’ve purchased from Kindle for iOS is useless unless users already have Amazon accounts, and the app isn’t allowed to tell users – with a link or otherwise – where they need to go to sign up and get content. .

Apple’s change means that apps like Kindle for iOS can include a link to an external site that creates and manages user accounts. This will make it much easier for punters to start the application.

It also means that Apple will allow payments on these external sites.

But Apple already allows it.

For example, users cannot purchase eBooks from Kindle for iOS. Purchasing eBooks on iOS remains the exclusive privilege of Apple’s own Books app. Those who prefer Amazonian or other e-books should, for example, use the web or the Amazon app to put items into their accounts and then sync their Kindle app on iOS with their Bezos-built bookshelf.

So while Apple makes it easier to buy content from sources other than its App Store, that doesn’t mean content reader apps can start selling content directly to users from within the apps.

Apple’s view is: “To ensure a safe and seamless user experience, App Store guidelines require developers to sell digital services and subscriptions using the built-in payment system. Apple application. “

In fact, the iGiant said, “Because developers of reading apps do not offer in-app digital goods and services for purchase, Apple has agreed with the JFTC to allow developers to these apps share a single “- wow, so generous -” link for their website to help users set up and manage their account.

“We have great respect for the Japanese Fair Trade Commission and appreciate the work we have done together, which will help developers of reading applications make it easier for users to configure and manage their applications and services, while protecting their privacy and maintaining their trust, “Phil Schiller, the Apple member who oversees the App Store, said in a statement.

The Commission was, at the time of writing, silent on the matter on its website and social media channels. Apple said the investigation is over after proposing the changes described above.

The change to the App Store T & Cs is Apple’s second in recent days. Last week’s settlement of an antitrust case in the United States saw the iTitan commit to changing app prices, changing search results, and providing support for small developers. ®

Editor’s Note: This article has been revised to add Apple’s quote that it “would help developers of reading apps protect users when they link them to an external website to make purchases” and explain what that meant.

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