On Monday, in an unannounced change, the company revised those rules in updated guidelines issued for application developers. The revised rules offer magazine, newspaper, music and video publishers more freedom to sell their content directly without going through iTunes.
In February, Apple introduced a subscription mechanism for iPhone and iPad apps that required companies to offer customers the possibility of buying content like magazines or music through its payment system. The rules also barred companies from offering a better deal to customers if they paid for a subscription elsewhere, say on a company’s own Web site. Apps that did not comply were not authorized on Apple devices.
Under the new rules, companies can sell the subscriptions on their own Web site at any price they choose, and still offer them through apps on Apple devices. If a customer purchases the subscription within an app using Apple’s subscription service, Apple will still get a 30 percent cut.
Apple was not immediately available to comment.
Some publishers were harshly critical of Apple’s rules, saying it would make it impossible for their businesses to operate. The Financial Times, the British daily, on Tuesday had introduced a mobile Web app that worked in a similar way that an iPad or iPhone app works, but can be accessed with a Web browser. The goal was to circumvent Apple’s store and hefty commission.
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