May 21, 2022

Apple To Allow App Developers to Link Website Following the Settlement with Japan Regulator

Apple said in a press release on Wednesday that it will allow developers of reader apps to provide an in-app link to their website. On the website, the users can set up or manage their accounts. The moves come after the company announced its settlement with Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC). The change in policies is expected to come into effect by early 2022.

The reader apps refer to apps such as Netflix, Audible, Spotify, and Dropbox or the apps that provide in-app content purchases or subscriptions on a monthly/yearly basis. Even though the change in policies came after its settlement with JFTC, Apple will apply the same policies across its all markets. However, the users of reader apps will be required to do purchases through Apple’s payment system. In the press release, it said that it will update its policies and review process and provide a secure experience to customers.

“We have great respect for the Japan Fair Trade Commission and appreciate the work we’ve done together, which will help developers of reader apps make it easier for users to set up and manage their apps and services while protecting their privacy and maintaining their trust,” said Phil Schiller, an Apple fellow at the company. In a press release by JFTC, it confirmed that Apple will now “eliminate the suspected violation of the Antimonopoly Act.”  The investigation against the company was started in 2016. Under the settlement, Apple is expected to send the report regarding the status of Apple store policies and reviews once a year for the next three years.

Apple’s permission to integrate website link has limited scope for some of the apps. For instance, a user can’t sign up on the app but needs to sign up on its website. Another example is Amazon Kindle. When one downloads the app, the individual needs to open an Amazon account. To open the account, one gets redirected or needs to go to a mobile browser.

JFTC Is not the Only Who’s Striving to Change Apple’s Policies

Earlier this week, South Korea’s parliament approved a bill that curbs major app store policies. This will allow app developers to use their own payment system. However, Apple defended the move by stating that it will “put users who purchase digital goods from other sources at risk of fraud, undermine their privacy protections, make it difficult to manage their purchases and features like ‘Ask to Buy’ and Parental Controls will become less effective.”

Apple: You Can Ignore Our Payment System

Recently, Apple announced a settlement with plaintiffs of US developers. Under this settlement, the app developers in the country can ask their users to pay them through the alternative payment system. Moreover, the company also reduced its commission fees rate from 30% to 15% for developers who earn less than one million dollars. This was announced under a program for small developers.

Recent Developments

Yesterday, Apple announced that Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Utah, and Iowa will allow their residents to store state’s ID or driver’s license on their Apple Wallet. “The addition of driver’s licenses and state IDs to Apple Wallet is an important step in our vision of replacing the physical wallet with a secure and easy-to-use mobile wallet,” said Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Apple Wallet and Apple Pay, in a statement.

Last week, it introduced a News Partner Program that will enable publishers to earn extra money. Under this program, it will only take a 15% commission fee from its publishers instead of 30% if they join Apple News. Apple says that the publisher needs to the public original content and their apps should be available on App Store. It also mentioned that it will support organizations that educate readers about news literacy.