Apple has now made some changes in the App Store rules, allowing some content companies like Netflix to give links to their websites so customers can sign up for paid accounts.
These changes are part of a settlement with Japan`s anti-trust regulator, which said the change was enough for it to close a five-year investigation into Apple that focused on video and music apps but did not consider games.
The US tech giant, however, must still contend with other legal and regulatory challenges to rules it forces game makers to follow, including a closely watched antitrust lawsuit brought by “Fortnite” creator Epic Games.
The separate links ban was lifted for so-called reader apps which provide content such as e-books, video and music that don’t offer a free tier of service, instead requiring payment at sign-up.
The change will occur from early next year and will be applied globally, said Apple, which will retain ultimate say over which apps qualify as reader apps.
Some companies said the concession was not enough.
“A limited anti-steering fix does not solve all our issues,” Spotify Technology said in a statement. The music streaming company is pursuing an antitrust complaint against Apple with European Union competition authorities.
Apple’s App Store forms the core of its $53.8 billion services segment, and it collects commissions between 15% and 30% from in-app purchases.
Its rules for game makers have been among its most contentious, particularly the practice that Epic Games is contesting of not allowing developers to take other forms of payment inside apps.
That case may determine whether Apple can retain control over what apps appear on its devices and whether it is allowed to charge commissions to developers.
Responding to Apple’s latest announcement on its App Store, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney accused Apple of trying to appease with insufficient piecemeal measures.
“Apple should open up iOS on the basis of hardware, stores, payments, and services each competing individually on their merits. Instead, they`re running a literally day-by-day recalculation of divide-and-conquer in hopes of getting away with most of their tying practices,” he said on Twitter.