Apple working with developers but still enacting in-app content changes

Apple working with developers but still enacting in-app content changes

Apple is working with prominent App Store developers to help them comply with the new rules regarding in-app purchasing of content, reports Macworld.

Sources told the publication that Apple will still be enforcing the changes to in-app content purchasing that will give Apple a 30% slice of purchases made via any app in the App Store. The company is, however, helping developers to make sure that their apps are ready.

The section of Apple’s App Store policies that is causing all of the ruckus is section 11.14, which reads:

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.

The policy changes affect many major apps that make purchases of outside content available to consumers. Prime examples of this include the Barnes & Noble and Kindle apps, which offer purchases of books directly in the app. The new rules stand to cut severely into profits from digital books, which typically have a very thin margin to begin with.

Many assumed that we would see updates to the Kindle app and others that offer a ‘purchase’ button directly in the app as of yesterday, June 30th, a date widely reported as the deadline for compliance with the new rules. It look as if that deadline may have been moved out to make sure that major publishers in the App Store ecosystem can reach compliance.

Apps from these publishers should see updates in the near future., but there are many other small developers that may see their apps removed from the store if they do not comply. For many of them, the 30% cut may make the cost of doing business on the App Store too high and they may choose to go the ‘web app’ route, like the Financial Times, or just modify their apps to remove in-app purchasing.

Limits to the way that apps point to external websites to make purchases may make even such a modified approach difficult. Macworld points to the Netflix app as one that has sidestepped the purchasing rules by telling people to ‘visit’ to sign up, but not providing a link.

The next couple of weeks should tell us whether this will become the App Store bloodbath that was predicted when the rule changes were first enacted, or if most developers will just quietly comply as a few others slip off of the App Store for good.

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