For subscriptions Apple gets 30 percent of the proceeds for the first year but it expects that the developers follow a certain set of rules. One of these is that the price offered in the iOS app is not higher than the price outside the app. The full app-review guidelines are found on Apple’s website at developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/. A small excerpt: “We will reject apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, ‘I’ll know it when I see it’. And we think that you will also know it when you cross it”. Because of these rules some application developers decide to direct users to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchases. This way they get away with not paying Apple commissions and at the same time they are still able to provide the same pricing to their iOS users.
Ever since Apple has introduced the means to have subscription content attached to in-app-purchases, they also changed their guidelines, as it is also detailed in Section 3.1.1: “if you sell a subscription in an app, you must use in-app purchase. You can’t steer customers to an offsite signup: Apps may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers <<elsewhere>>..” Spotify now charges $12.99 for new customers sign up for a subscription in the iOS app. Their usual pricing is $9.99 but they increased it to compensate for Apple’s cut. This is however in violation with Apple’s terms. Their latest updates which were rejected, removed the subscription signup altogether or replaced it with an email subscribe form which introduced even more confusion. Reportedly Spotify has circulated their letter of complaint to Apple (AAPL) among Capitol Hill types expressing how they believe Apple has placed conditions on its rivals that make it difficult for them to offer competitive streaming services.