Japan forces Apple to allow reader apps to link to their websites and make external payments

Apple has been having a really tough time in courts lately. Apart from its ongoing tussle with Epic Games, it was also told by a U.S. court to allow developers to inform customers about payment methods outside the Apple ecosystem last week. In a similar ruling today, the Japanese Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) has stated that reader apps should be allowed to have in-app links to their official websites.

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The JFTC has closed an investigation of the App Store after reaching an agreement with Apple that the firm will allow reader apps to include URLs to official websites to set up and manage accounts. Reader apps enable customers to access previously purchased content and subscriptions for digital magazines, music, audio, video, and more.

Although the ruling was made by the JFTC, Apple will apply the change globally. Although it claims that the commerce system it offers via the App Store is the safest and most trusted payment experience, it will also aid developers of reader apps in "protecting" customers when they are linked to an external website to make purchases.

Giving a positive spin on the JFTC mandate, Apple executive Phil Schiller stated that:

Trust on the App Store is everything to us. The focus of the App Store is always to create a safe and secure experience for users, while helping them find and use great apps on the devices they love. We have great respect for the Japan Fair Trade Commission and appreciate the work we’ve done together, which will help developers of reader apps make it easier for users to set up and manage their apps and services, while protecting their privacy and maintaining their trust.

The change will go into effect in early 2022 and Apple will update its guidelines and review processes accordingly.

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