20 September 2021
Apple has announced that it has reached a settlement with Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC). This will result in some App Store guidelines that will allow developers of reader apps to provide external links. These URLs will help users set up or manage their accounts with ease. These changes will come into effect in early 2022.
While the name "reader apps" suggests that the change covers only reading apps, it actually covers a lot of different kinds. A reader app is any app that allows its users to access already purchased/subscribed content that is stored in the cloud. These include the likes of digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video. Some of the examples of such apps are Netflix, Spotify, Dropbox, and Audible.
Apple found itself in a legal battle where it was accused of indulging in anti-competitive and unfair practices for developers and consumers. In the official blog post, Apple said, "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."
The settlement has happened in Japan but Apple says it will be bringing these changes globally. It will be making certain changes to the store guidelines before rolling out the new external look guideline for everyone. It says that they want to offer new things but also to maintain a safe usage environment for users.