This is actually big news from Apple:
Apple today announced an update coming to the App Store that
closes an investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC).
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. While the agreement was made with the JFTC, Apple will
apply this change globally to all reader apps on the store. Reader
apps provide previously purchased content or content subscriptions
for digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video.
To ensure a safe and seamless user experience, the App Store’s
guidelines require developers to sell digital services and
subscriptions using Apple’s in-app payment system. Because
developers of reader apps do not offer in-app digital goods and
services for purchase, Apple agreed with the JFTC to let
developers of these apps share a single link to their website to
help users set up and manage their account. […]
“Trust on the App Store is everything to us. The focus of the App
Store is always to create a safe and secure experience for users,
while helping them find and use great apps on the devices they
love,” said Phil Schiller, Apple Fellow who oversees the App
Store. “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.”
Progress. Apple’s anti-steering provisions are the number one thing I have been clamoring to be changed in the App Store rules. I think this should expand beyond just “reader” apps, but one step at a time.
Do you hear that sound? That’s the sound of a significant amount of antitrust pressure being relieved from Apple. Netflix, Kindle, and Spotify (which has been a particularly vocal critic of Apple’s policies) can all do what they should have been allowed to do all along: link to their websites from their apps and tell users that’s where they need to go to sign up and buy content.
Update: Press release from the JFTC, “Closing the Investigation on the Suspected Violation of the Antimonopoly Act by Apple Inc.”:
During the JFTC’s investigation, Apple proposed to take measures
such as revising the Guideline related to the alleged conduct
above. As a result of the JFTC’s review on this proposal, the JFTC
recognized it would eliminate the abovementioned suspicion and
decided to close the investigation on this case after the JFTC
confirms the measure has been taken.
Other than this, the JFTC found no other monopolistic conduct.
★ Wednesday, 1 September 2021