Apple’s Burned Trust

John Siracusa, on Twitter:

Sure, your “reader” app can include one (1) approved link to your website … but will you be allowed to have any text near that link explaining why someone might want to tap on it, or is that still forbidden? This is where we are, mentally, when considering App Store rules in 2021.

I heard from one reader in the racket wondering if Apple is going to require these apps to also offer Apple’s IAP to be allowed to include a link to a website. I have another friend, who works on a popular subscription app that does use IAP, who’s wondering if they’re going to be allowed to also have a link to their website now, and doubting it.

That’s how much trust Apple has burned.

The spirit of Apple’s settlement with the Japan Fair Trade Commission is clear: these “reader” apps are going to be permitted to link users to their websites for signing up and buying media like e-books, movies, and music. Within that spirit, of course they’re going to be allowed to have text explaining this, and of course they’re not going to be required to also offer Apple’s IAP for these same purchases.

But very reasonable, smart people are genuinely skeptical that Apple is going to adhere to the spirit of this settlement.

Call me a fool, but I think Apple is going to follow through and do the right thing by these apps. There are a lot of negative adjectives that I’d apply to Apple regarding the App Store. Greedy, inconsistent, frustrating, shortsighted, capricious, officious, technically illiterate. Did I say greedy? But one thing Apple is not and never has been is devious. Apple does not play tricks. And the JFTC would not take kindly to tricks.

Thursday, 2 September 2021