Thursday, April 20, 2023

Apple now allows Netflix, Spotify and other ‘reader’ apps to link to their sites for a fee

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Shreya Christina
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Netflix, Spotify and other similar services can now: add a link in their iOS apps that take users to their own websites for payment and account management. Apple allows now developers of “reader” apps to link to a website they maintain. The tech giant defines reader apps as applications that “provide previously purchased content or content subscriptions for digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music and video”.

Apple first announced last year that it is allowing certain media services to add in-app links as part of a settlement with the Japan Fair Trade Commission. The company agreed to the provision, because those apps “do not offer in-app digital goods and services for sale anyway”. Although the change was the result of JFTC’s investigation, Apple will apply the new policy to all reader apps around the world. That said, developers will first need to request access to the External Link Account Entitlement program before being allowed to add in-app links. While the change gives developers a way to avoid Apple getting a 15 to 30 percent discount, the company will still collect commissions for in-app purchases, if the service offers one.

Google also recently launched a pilot program to test third-party billing systems in Android, allowing users to pay for services through its own payment system or that of the developer. Spotify, one of the apps testing the feature, will be showing subscribers to Google and its own billing system side by side later this year. Google will still get a discount even if the user chooses the service’s own billing system, but it will be less than the 15 percent commission the tech giant usually collects for subscriptions.

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