Apple is making some important changes to its App Store.
The company settled a class-action lawsuit by U.S. developers by agreeing to pay them $100 million and making a number of concessions regarding App Store rules.
The most important among these is letting developers communicate to their customers about payment options outside of their iOS app. This could mean savings for end users. Given that Apple takes a 30 percent cut from every App Store purchase (15 percent for smaller developers), a developer could offer a better price through other channels and offer it to users.
Another important change is developers being able to offer a greater number of price points (500 instead of 100) for subscriptions, in-app purchases and paid apps. Apple also said it would start providing an annual transparency report based on the data it gathers on the App Store. The company will also establish a fund to assist small developers in the U.S., especially those suffering from the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, with more details available at a later date.
You can find out more information about the changes on Apple’s website, with the company sugarcoating the fact that all of this stems from a lawsuit as hard as it can.
“From the beginning, the App Store has been an economic miracle; it is the safest and most trusted place for users to get apps, and an incredible business opportunity for developers to innovate, thrive, and grow. We would like to thank the developers who worked with us to reach these agreements in support of the goals of the App Store and to the benefit of all of our users,” Phil Schiller, the Apple Fellow who oversees the App Store, said in a statement.
The lawsuit, filed in California in June 2019, alleged that Apple’s 30 percent commission rate on app sales, as well as its minimum $0.99 price requirement for paid apps and its $99 annual developer fee, are anti-competitive. Apple has since cut the commission rate to 15 percent for developers earning less than $1 million annually; under the new rules, this fee structure will remain the same for at least the next three years.
Apple squeezed in another bit of news into this announcement: The company is launching its News Partner Program. Under the program, news organizations who provide their customers with access to their content in Apple News using Apple News Format will get a 15 percent commission on subscriptions to their news app (instead of the regular 30 percent).