Apple Relaxes Rules for In-App Subscriptions

Apple revised its decision on in-app subscriptions and is now allowing publishers to offer subscriptions outside of iTunes and not give Apple a generous cut of its profits.

The decision reversed a controversial move earlier this year that required publishers to offer in-app subscriptions at the App Store and give 30 percent of profits to Apple or be evicted from Apple's clubhouse by March 31. The policy change was spotted by MacRumors, which was reviewing App Store guidelines and saw the updated language.

The new section 11.14 states that apps can play content "subscribed to or purchased outside of the app" as long as the app doesn't include a way for users to go directly from the app to the outside purchasing mechanism. That is, these apps can't have a "buy" button that takes users to an external subscription page.

Did Apple's strong-arm tactics create a fierce backlash, or was it that publishers started bypassing the App Store? (Our thoughts are that the announcement has more to do with Apple's recent partnerships with music companies for its new iCloud service.) Either way, Apple got the message and publishers are all the happier for it.

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