Link maker

Apple announces new settlement with Japan allowing developers to link to external websites – TechCrunch

Apple has reached an agreement with the Japanese regulator to allow developers of “reader” apps to link to their own websites for users to manage their accounts. The change will come into effect in early 2022.

Apple has come under scrutiny in several markets, including the United States and South Korea, over the way it imposes its own payment schemes on developers, with critics accusing it of anti-competitive practices.

In this latest development, regulations in Japan, from the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), will force Apple to change its policies on playback apps so that users can purchase content. Playback apps include not just playback apps, but any app that accesses “purchased” or subscribed media in the cloud for app users to consume. It covers digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music and video and the list includes the likes of Netflix, Spotify, Audible and Dropbox.

Before the change takes effect next year, Apple will continue to update its guidelines and review process for reader app users, according to its statement.

Apple will also apply this change globally to all reading apps in the store.

“We have great respect for the Japan Fair Trade Commission and appreciate the work we have done together, which will help reader app developers make it easier for users to set up and manage their apps and services, while protecting their privacy and maintaining their trust,” Phill Schiller, who oversees App Stores at Apple.

Apple seems to be taking the control it faces among lawmakers, developers, and the public onboard. Last week, it announced several updates that give developers more flexibility for their customers, and the company also launched a press partner program to support local journalists.

Although developers and others have been crying foul for years over restrictive App Store practices, Apple has long maintained that it puts its policies in place to protect consumers and create more consistent user experiences.

However, as technology, payment systems and consumer habits have evolved, these criticisms have only intensified. In this regard, Asia and the United States are not the only markets where lawmakers are finally beginning to act more on the issue. In Australia, the Competitions and Consumer Commission is also considering regulating digital payment systems – rules that would impact not just Apple, but other dominant players like Google and WeChat.

And just this week, South Korea became the first country to stop Apple and Google from imposing their own payment system on in-app purchases.

Apple has over 30 million registered developers who create iOS apps.