Apple to allow Netflix-type apps a sign-up link

Apple will for the first time allow apps like Netflix and Spotify to link a website where users can sign up and manage new and existing accounts.

Apple says the change wo what it calls “reader apps” will apply globally as earl as 2022.

The change was agreed with the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), closing a five-year investigation.

The settlement does not affect in-app purchases in games, currently the subject of a US lawsuit against Apple.

At present, app developers are required to use Apple’s in-app purchase systems, and cannot usually point users to buying content elsewhere.

That means that some apps only work if you already have a subscription obtained elsewhere, and do not offer in-app links to websites where you could sign up.

Apple said the agreement “will help developers of reader apps make it easier for users to set up and manage their apps and services, while protecting their privacy and maintaining their trust”.

The company currently receives a commission of between 15% and 30% on in-app purchases – its App store is a major contributor to the near $54 billion the firm makes from its “services” segment.

Outlining its investigation the JFTC said the agreement covered “reader apps”.

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