Apple Flip-Flops on in-App Purchasing
When Apple first rolled out its subscription model and in-app purchasing plan, it placed a number of restrictions on content creators. Most notably was the requirement that if content producers offered the same products for sale outside their apps, the in-app purchase price had to be the same as the price outside the app. Presumably, this was designed to prevent app makers from charging a premium to iOS users.
Enforcement of this rule was meant to begin on June 30, but the new version of Apple’s terms of service has dropped the requirement. App makers are now free to charge whatever they wish for in-app purchases, perhaps even marking-up the purchases to claw back some of the 30% cut Apple takes of all app transactions. While there is no word on the motivations behind the change, Apple’s announcement of Newsstand and the loss of some publishers on the app store could have something to do with it.
The new rules also allow providers to push content to users that have signed up for services outside the app, which will allow services like Netflix to continue operating as they have on iOS platforms. App creators will also have to keep registration or sign-up functions within the app, and not redirect to an outside website. These rules seem to reflect an effort on Apple’s part to keep new content flowing to their devices. Though Apple still carefully guards its iOS garden, it needs happy developers and content creators to make the garden flourish.