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Apple decrees free iPhone apps can sell stuff

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Apple is now permitting free iPhone apps to peddle their own stuff. Previously, the Cupertino cult only allowed "In App Purchases" if third-party developers put a price tag on their iPhone applications.

With In App Purchases, third-party devs can sell content, subscriptions, and digital services directly from their iPhone (and iPod touch) applications. Apple deigned to allow such sales with the release of its iPhone 3.0 software this spring, but as Apple Insider points out, many developers were forced to add 99 cents to their apps in order to use the feature.

Apple takes a 30 per cent cut of the price of each App Store app.

But now, the company has changed its mind on in-free-app purchases. "In App Purchase is being rapidly adopted by developers in their paid apps. Now you can use In App Purchase in your free apps to sell content, subscriptions, and digital services," reads the note Apple sent to developers this week.

"You can also simplify your development by creating a single version of your app that uses In App Purchase to unlock additional functionality, eliminating the need to create Lite versions of your app."

And so, Apple continues efforts to convince developers that the App Store isn't the online police state it's made out to be. This particular announcement is certainly good news for iPhone coders. But questions remain on Apple's App Store gatekeeping policies. Most notably, the FCC continues to investigate why Cupertino silenced Google's Voice. ®

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