Apple will permit "reader apps" to sign up customers at external sites

Apple will let developers of “reader apps” (e.g., subscription music services, Kindle, etc.) link to external sites to set up and manage their accounts. Apple Press Release:

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.

More at The Verge


Related story, potentially a larger change, is the one from South Korea:

1 Like

I think they Hey article misses that it’s for in app purchases only, not if you charge ££ for buying the app from the app store.

The linking was discussed on Dithering today and both Gruber and Ben agreed that the link was the bigger change.

I don’t know why Governments are so into stripping the profit potential from tech infrastructure. It comes to a point where they’re simply not going to build new infrastructure if the revenue/profit equation fails because of Governmental ineptitude.

Put more succinctly who does it advantage. Netflix, Amazon and other behemoths aren’t hurting for money. You need to protect smaller companies but if other countries are like the United States they don’t give two shats about small businesses in the first place.

This change merely means people who subscribe to a external assets – music from a streaming service, ebooks from a distributor, and so on – can sign up for an account and manage their purchases externally from their own websites, and access those sites via the app. It is not “governments … stripping the profit potential” from anyone.

Just to be clear, you could already do that. This change allows developers to put a link to the website in the app, which they couldn’t before.

Oh that’s pretty much nothing to me. I have had an Evernote account for years and I have Tidal and other services that I’m able to orignate from the website itself and the Apple stores don’t conflict with it much. I see this as a net positive but not much of a big deal.

Stripping IAP fees though is more problematic. I"m more in favor of some of the moves Apple is making to reduce the costs for the smaller devs to perhaps 10% and as the successful firms grow they can pay more.

I’m not interested in making Billionaire CEO …multi Billionaires.

… as I wrote …:

These changes are largely meaningless compromises. One doesn’t really change anything, and the other is such a minor change that it’s barely worth mentioning.

Still can’t buy Kindle books in the Kindle app. But you can buy iBooks in the iBooks/Books app.


Both the walled Appstore and earnings model have seen their longest days given the amount of pressure building around the world. Think the “goodwill” gestures by Apple will not change that, only slightly delay the inevitable.

It will be interesting to see what Apple will do to keep the device integrity and user security intact.

Think there will be a form of iOS app notarisation needed and can imagine developers will have to pay for that. Running and developing the ecosystem at scale costs money. Unless of course the whole ecosystem falls apart and sideloading (or alternative app stores) become a possibility. I could see a license model replacing the 30% cut.

Don’t know where I stand on this yet. As a user I like the simplicity of the Appstore model, on the other hand I definitely run into restrictions caused by memberships, subscriptions and in-app purchases.

On the Mac, I definitely sideload supporting trusted developers directly and also use SetApp as their subscription solution drives delivers good value to me.