Multiple iOS apps have been updated this weekend to remove in-app purchasing links, with the WSJ, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Spotify and others apparently complying with Apple’s stricter rules. Apple quietly updated its terms & conditions back in June, no longer preventing services from selling content outside of apps – as had been originally the case – but insisting that in-app links to external stores be removed.
The Wall Street Journal has confirmedthat its iPad app “will soon remove all purchasing options in the app in response to Apple’s new rules.” Whereas before, would-be subscribers could hit a button in the app and be taken to a sign-up page in the iPad’s Safari browser, now they will have to call customer service or manually visit the newspaper’s site.
Similarly, the Kindle for iOS app has been updated, with Amazon saying that v2.8 “removes the Kindle Store button.” Spotify too has an amended version, the changelist of which only includes “compliance with new rules for subscription-based apps.” Ereader apps from Kobo and Barnes & Noble have also been changed so that they no longer link to web-based ebook stores.
“We remain concerned that Apple’s own subscription [rules] would create a poor experience for our readers, who would not be able to directly manage their WSJ account or to easily access our content across multiple platforms” a News Corp spokesperson said of the changes, referring to Apple’s preference for its own in-app purchasing system. While that allows for recurring subscriptions to be bought without leaving the software itself, it also takes a 30-percent cut for Apple’s pocket and limits what access content providers have to subscriber information.
Meanwhile, Google Books is now no longer present in the App Store, with the search giant seemingly choosing to yank its software rather than comply with Apple’s rules.