Apple gives way in strategic retreat from strict App Store rules

The legal battle with Epic, which took place in federal court in Oakland, Calif., Earlier this year, is arguably the biggest threat to Apple’s App Store business. Epic wants to force the iPhone maker to allow app developers to avoid App Store commissions altogether, which would be a major financial blow to Apple. A federal judge is expected to deliver a verdict in the case soon.

While Apple has described the changes as a major concession to app developers, critics have argued that the moves are more for the show than a substantial overhaul of its business.

“A year ago these concessions probably would have worked, and they still could, but lawmakers have created momentum that may be difficult to stop,” said Paul Gallant, analyst at Cowen investment bank.

More substantial reforms that Apple likely hopes to avoid, critics say, would include drastically reducing or eliminating the 30% discount Apple receives from App Store purchases (such as an item purchased in a game), allowing other companies to install competing app stores on iPhones. , or let customers download applications directly from the Internet.

Apple hasn’t budged from its 30% cut over the years, with a few exceptions. In 2016, it reduced its commission for app user subscriptions to 15% after one year, and last year agreed to reduce its reduction to 15% for developers of small apps.

The change announced on Wednesday allowed a set of so-called reading apps – which provide content for digital media like books, newspapers, music and videos – to direct their customers to their own websites to buy. subscriptions.

Until then, under Apple’s long-standing rules, apps like Netflix and Spotify were not allowed to advertise on their apps that users could purchase subscriptions on their websites. Spotify, however, emails new members a link to its website where it advertises its paid subscriptions, though it doesn’t explicitly tell users to bypass Apple.

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