Apple Revises Draconian In-App Purchase Requirements

MacRumors is reporting that Apple has eased pricing requirements for its In-App subscriptions in the App Store, quietly unclenching its tight grip by also removing requirements that external subscriptions be offered in-app.

Content providers can set subscription prices at whatever price they desire and will no longer be required to offer an in-app subscription because they sell one outside the App Store, an Apple spokesperson confirmed.

When Apple finally rolled out its in-app subscription service in February, it came with a number of caveats, set to go into effect June 30. MacRumors points out one of the most controversial terms:

11.13 Apps can read or play approved content (magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, video) that is sold outside of the app, for which Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues, provided that the same content is also offered in the app using IAP at the same price or less than it is offered outside the app. This applies to both purchased content and subscriptions. 

What this meant was that content providers were forced to offer their lowest pricing on subscriptions in the App Store.

This week, with the enforcement date around the corner, Apple updated its App Store Review Guidelines to read:

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.

The new guidelines now allow publishers to charge a premium, if they so desire, for In-App subscriptions, presumably to cover the 30 percent cut Apple takes.

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