March 21, 2023

Apple said Wednesday that it would adjust its App Store policies to allow certain types of applications to do business more directly with their customers.

As part of the change, so-called reader apps, which include Netflix and Spotify, will be allowed to include a link in their apps to instruct users to set up or manage their accounts on the company’s website, rather than through the app store.

That would allow these companies to avoid the traditional 30 percent fee Apple charges when people make payments for things like subscriptions to the App Store. Apple had long prevented companies from directing their users to their own websites, which would have withheld this 30 percent cut. These reader apps “offer pre-purchased content or subscription to content for digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video,” the company said.

Apple said the change related to an agreement with Japan’s Fair Trade Commission, which was investigating the tech giant’s App Store policies.

Phil Schiller, the Apple executive overseeing the App Store, said in a statement that the change would “help reader app developers make it easier for users to set up and manage their apps and services while protecting their privacy and security keep their trust. ”

The adjustment will take effect early next year. Apple is under increasing pressure because of its App Store rules.

Last week, the company announced a similar change as part of a legal settlement with app makers, announcing it would set up a $ 100 million fund for small app developers. Last year, Apple halved the fee that the smallest app developers pay through the App Store.

The company is also awaiting a ruling from a judge in its antitrust litigation against Epic Games, creator of Fortnite, who brought Apple to court in May for allegedly abusing its power over the App Store. If Epic wins, companies could avoid Apple’s commissions.