Apple changes in-app subscription policy just before deadline

Jun 9, 2011
Finance

It looks like Apple (AAPL) has made some changes in favor of the app-owners who offer in-app subscriptions to services or content such as movies, periodicals and newspapers. Formerly, the policy which was to go into effect June 30 of this year stated that app-owners could offer in-app subscriptions only if the price point was […]

It looks like Apple (AAPL) has made some changes in favor of the app-owners who offer in-app subscriptions to services or content such as movies, periodicals and newspapers. Formerly, the policy which was to go into effect June 30 of this year stated that app-owners could offer in-app subscriptions only if the price point was equal or lesser value to those offered outside of the app themselves. With the revision recently released, the restrictions on in-app pricing have been lifted with the simple caveat that states the apps may not have a direct link to external subscription pages — or essentially a “buy” button that takes you to the web. The specific wording of the policy is below. (via Engadget):

11.13 Apps that link to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the app, such as a “buy” button that goes to a web site to purchase a digital book, will be rejected.

11.14 Apps can read or play approved content (specifically magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video) that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app, as long as there is no button or external link in the app to purchase the approved content. Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues for approved content that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app.

This introduces a lot of flexibility to app-owners who want to get around Apple’s 30 percent cut from in-app purchases. In addition, they can change the in-app prices to compensate for the cut that Apple will take from the purchase. Not all that great for the user, but excellent for the owners.

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However, on the user side, Apple is maintaining its policy on sharing user information — or not sharing it, as it were. The publishers feel that obtaining user credit-card information is a critical part of creating a TV Everywhere model to online publishing.

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