Apple’s app subs terms subject to anti-trust scrutiny

Apple’s latest terms and conditions on app subscriptions look set to be the subject of anti-trust scrutiny.

US Department of Justice regulators have begun an inquiry into Apple’s change of policy, while the European Commission is monitoring market developments, according to reports.

Apple now lets publishers set the price and length of a subscription, while users can choose how frequently they’re charged and for how long they commit to a subscription.

While publishers can now sell app subscriptions through their own websites, bypassing Apple’s 30% stake, there’s a caveat that any offers outside the app must be matched inside the app.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement last week: “When the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, they keep 100% and Apple earns nothing. All we require is that, if a publisher is making a subscription offer outside of the app, the same (or better) offer be made inside the app, so that customers can easily subscribe with one click right in the app.”

The first step in any anti-trust analysis will be to determine whether Apple is a dominant player in the market, experts have said.

Read this feature on magazine publishers and mobile devices

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