Apple offers small concessions to relax Netflix and other App Store rules


SAN FRANCISCO / TOKYO-Apple lets some apps like Netflix provide links to websites for user payments. This is a small concession that allows app developers to avoid the 30% App Store fee charged by iPhone makers.

The concession is part of a settlement with Japan’s antitrust regulators, and the change is sufficient to end a five-year investigation into Apple, which focused on video and music apps but didn’t consider games. Said there is.

However, US tech giants need to address many other legal and regulatory challenges, including antitrust proceedings filed by Fortnite creator Epic Games.

The ban on providing individual links in the App Store app for so-called reader apps that provide content such as ebooks, videos, music, do not offer free services, and instead require payment at sign-up is lifted it was done. ..

Today, apps like Netflix and Spotify avoid Apple’s about 15% to 30% fees by forcing users to sign up for their website first.

“Some of the biggest services in this’leader’category are streamers like Netflix and Spotify, which already have their own payment services and rely on them,” said Paolo Pescatore, an analyst at PPForesight. increase.

“”[The change] Small developers will be able to manage their direct relationships with their customers in order to manage their accounts and payments. “

The change is expected to come into effect early next year and will apply worldwide, Apple said. Apple said it would retain the final say on which apps qualify as leader apps.

Some companies said the concessions were not enough.

“Limited anti-steering fixes don’t solve all problems,” Spotify Technology said in a statement. Music streaming companies have filed antitrust allegations against Apple with European Union competition authorities.

The rules for game makers are the most controversial, especially among the practices that Epic Games is arguing about not allowing developers to make other forms of payment within the app.

In that case, it may determine whether Apple can maintain control of the apps displayed on the device and whether it can charge the developer a fee.

In response to Apple’s latest announcement on the App Store, which is at the heart of the $ 53.8 billion service segment, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has accused Apple of trying to appease with inadequate fragmentary measures.

“Apple needs to open iOS based on hardware, stores, payments, and services that compete individually for each benefit. Instead, they expect to avoid most of their tying practices. And literally performing a daily recalculation of the divide and rule, “he said on Twitter.

Officials from the Japan Fair Trade Commission emphasized that the scope of the investigation does not cover the game.

“There may be research into the game as well,” he told a media briefing.

Apple has a 46.5% share of the Japanese smartphone market, with more than 30 million units sold annually.

The latest concessions from iPhone makers are second in a few weeks. It reached an agreement with a group of US developers in a class action last week, ending their ban on telling users by email message about payment options.

As one of the recent challenges, South Korea banned major app store operators, including Apple, from forcing developers to use the payment system on Tuesday, effectively blocking them from charging in-app purchase fees. Did.

The company faces similar legislative measures in the United States and Europe.