Apple has announced several changes to its mobile App Store in order to settle a class-action lawsuit launched against the tech giant in the United States.
According to settlement information released by the tech gaint, App Store developers can offer alternative payment methods to users outside of the App Store via communication methods like email. This includes in-app purchases and subscriptions.
Apple also says that it will expand the price points developers are able to offer for apps, in-app purchases and subscriptions. Along with this, the company revealed plans to launch a fund for small developers and says that it will release a transparency report regarding its notoriously obtuse app review process.
“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,” said Phil Schiller, the “Apple Fellow” that oversees the App Store and former senior vice president of worldwide product marketing. “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.”
In a press release regarding the settlement, Apple identified “seven key priorities” regarding its changes to the App Store, including the following:
The company says it will maintain an App Store Small Business program where developers earning less than $1 million annually will pay a reduced 15 percent commission, while developers earning more than that amount will pay the regular 30 percent commission. This system will remain in place for at least the next three years.
Search results in the App Store will continue to offer “objective characteristics” such as downloads, star ratings, text relevance and more. The company says it will maintain this current system for at least the next three years.
Apple says that developers can now use communication like email to share information about payment methods outside of its own App Store. However, this change doesn’t affect in-app communication options. The company emphasizes in its press release that it won’t take a commission from purchases taking place outside of its App Store.
In-app subscriptions and paid app pricing options will expand from 100 options to 500. There’s a possibility this could result in the minimum $0.99 minimum price point changing.
Apple says it will add more content to its App Review website in an effort to help developers better understand the App Store review appeals process.
The company says it will release a yearly transparency report focused on App Store data that includes statistics related to the app review process and the number of rejected apps.
Apple will launch a fund to assist small U.S. developers that will pay out between $250 and $30,000 to developers making under $1 million per year. The company says that the amount awarded will be based on the developer’s “historic participation in the App Store ecosystem.” It’s unclear if this fund will expand beyond the United States in the future.
The class-action lawsuit in question dates back to 2019 and isn’t directly related to the more recent Apple vs. Epic Case. However, the settlement in question will still require approval from the judge overseeing the Apple vs. Epic case, Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.
The particular class-action lawsuit involves several iOS developers that accused Apple’s App Store of imposing a monopoly and “profit-killing” measures.