Apple Inc announced on Wednesday that it would relax App Store regulations that prohibit firms like Netflix Inc from offering customers a link to create a premium account to avoid Apple’s in-app purchase commissions.
It’s the iPhone maker’s second surrender to authorities and corporations in less than a week, as the App Store, which is at the heart of its $53.8 billion services segment, faces legal, regulatory, and legislative threats.
However, Apple will continue to prohibit developers from accepting alternative kinds of payment within iPhone apps, a practice that “Fortnite” creator Epic Games, Spotify Technology, and Match Group Inc have stated they want to discontinue.
Spotify, which is pursuing an antitrust action against Apple with European Union competition authorities, said in a statement that “a limited anti-steering patch does not solve all our complaints.”
Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, tweeted on Apple’s operating system: “Apple should open up iOS to hardware, stores, payments, and services, all of which should compete on their own merits. Instead, they’re recalculating divide-and-conquer on a daily basis in the hopes of getting away with most of their tying practices.”
Apple announced that it has reached an agreement with the JFTC to allow developers of such apps to provide a single URL to their websites in order to make it easier for customers to set up and manage their accounts. Even though the adjustment was made as part of a deal with the JFTC, Apple stated that it will be implemented internationally.
At a press conference, the JFTC announced that it had concluded a five-year investigation into Apple, and that the company’s App Store guideline amendment had removed any suspicion of antitrust tactics. Apps that Apple does not deem to be “reader” apps will be rejected.
It was also stated that the scope of the study did not include gaming.
Apple had previously authorised a link for account creation, but only if the account creation did not require entering payment information. Netflix, for example, could not provide a link because their service has no free tier and requires payment at sign-up. However, the adjustments will not affect game businesses, which are Apple’s most profitable category on the App Store.