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Apple Opens Payment Gates for Media Apps Like Spotify, Netflix

Apple is moving to grant media apps like Netflix and Spotify the right to accept payments outside of the App Store and steer customers to their own websites instead, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and other news outlets reported on Thursday (Sept. 2).

The new policy will allow some apps to sidestep Apple’s commission, which ranges from 15-30 percent, and directly collect payment from their users. Technology companies have been fighting for the right to connect with their customers on their own websites and skip the Apple App Store’s payment processes.

See also: Apple Opens Payment Gateways For Devs As Part Of $100M Class Action Suit

The decision to change the payment policy is just one of several tweaks Apple is making to close a probe by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC). The changes apply worldwide for reader apps, which provide access to purchased or subscription content.

Changes take effect early in 2022 and affect apps that offer paid content like digital books, music, video, and news media, according to the WSJ.

“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,” Phil Schiller, Apple Fellow who oversees the App Store, said in a press release.

A Spotify spokeswoman told the WSJ that the company has to review the policy changes, but added that they address just one area of issues the streaming service has with Apple.

In a statement, the JFTC said that the amendments “would eliminate the suspected violation of the Antimonopoly Act,” the WSJ reported. The agency said the probe will remain open until it confirms that Apple has made the necessary changes.

See also: Australia Green-Lights Epic Games Apple Lawsuit

The decision in the JFTC case won’t apply to the antitrust case brought by Fortnite game maker Epic, which currently is awaiting a final decision in federal court. The JFTC probe and the allegations by Epic are just some of the many complaints tech companies have lodged against Apple over its strict App Store policies.

See also: South Korea Bill Signals Changes for App Store Payments Beyond Google, Apple

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