Publishers upset over Apple News + link hijacking


A change in the way links are handled in iOS 14 and macOS 11 shocked Apple’s partner in the publishing industry. The iPhone group did not announce in advance that certain links to news content and articles will be opened in the “News” app pre-installed on iPhones, iPads and Macs – instead of in the browser, as US publishers criticize according to media reports.

The unannounced change has caused annoyance and is classified by some publishers as “questionable” or possibly “illegal”, like the industry magazine Digiday reported. In the end, one feared a drop in sales, as the content in the Apple “News” app would be more difficult to market than on one’s own website, like three large, internationally active publishers across from Ad Age declared.

After the changed link behavior for News + subscribers caused a stir, Apple announced that the change was intentional – and that it could be switched off. It is currently enabled by default. It should improve the experience for subscribers and also bring publishers “increased usage and sales opportunities”. How the Apple operating systems decide which links are opened in the “News” app is still unclear. Since the news app in iOS also hijacks RSS feeds (the URL schemes rss: // and feed: //) but cannot do anything with them, feed reader developers see themselves at a disadvantage.




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The magazine and newspaper flat News + costs US $ 10 per month, Apple reportedly keeps 50 percent of it, the other 50 percent is distributed to publishers – divided according to the time readers spend with the respective content. In Germany, the subscription service News + is not offered, the Apple app “News”, which also shows advertising-financed content, is hidden by the system.

Major newspapers like that Washington Post and the New York Times stayed away from the subscription service News +, the New York Times has also withdrawn from the free part of “Apple News”. The Wall Street Journal, the content of which is also available via News +, recently stated that it would reach a “completely different readership” there – and that it wanted to remain loyal to the Apple service.


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