October 24, 2023

Now the users of Russian applications presented on iOS can make purchases on external websites without Apple’s involvement. This option is accessible if the developer integrates a special permission into his application for the iOS or iPadOS operating systems. By the special permission is envisaged a StoreKit External Purchase Link Entitlement, which allows the eligible apps to make a link to the developer's website informing users of alternative ways to purchase digital goods or services.

Until now, Apple did not allow the Russian application owners to accept payments through other websites. However, in August 2021 The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS Russia) reported about receiving requests from users of iOS devices and application developers, complaining that in some cases it is cheaper to buy a product, for example an e-book, on the seller’s website, and then start reading on iPhone or iPad application by logging in the account. Even more important that the application owners could not inform users about the possibility of making purchases outside the App Store, because the links to the developer’s website and going to the website in the browser were prohibited.

The FAS considered that Apple was restricting the developers by such actions, what negatively affected the competition and could lead to increase in prices. Thus, FAS issued a warning to Apple requiring to eliminate the restrictions by September 30, 2021. Then, in July 2022, FAS stated that Apple had abused its economic position in the iOS application market, and in January 2023 penalized the company for 1.18 M rubles. The attempt of iPhone manufacturer to challenge the decision in a Russian court was unsuccessful.

In order to utilize the new solution, the apps developers will have to submit a permission request, meet technical requirements for integration and comply with Apple's terms and conditions, including requirements of protection user privacy and security, preventing fraud, and others. This can be done by clicking on the payment link opening a new window in the user's browser. To use the permission, the developer should register his account in Russia and be aware that Apple retains 27% of the purchases cost.

TKM International Consulting considers this as a very important step in strengthening the relations between Apple and the Russian applications developers. This new opportunity is not only an asset of monetization of mobile applications, but a driving force of business development on Russian territory, providing efficient payments protection, which a number of other countries don’t yet possess.


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