Apple announced Thursday night in the US that iOS developers will now be able to advertise alternative payment options on the App Store, which will make it easier for them to promote alternative pricing without Apple’s cut. Until now, developers had to pay a portion of all revenue generated in the App Store to Apple, which they used to call ‘Apple tax’. In the midst of a long legal battle, Apple has decided to settle the case, and that includes new grants and a new fund to help qualified developers in the United States.
In its statement, Apple wrote that, pending court approval, it will settle a class action suit by US developers. He wrote: “From the beginning, the App Store was an economic miracle; it’s 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, Apple Fellow who oversees the App Store. “We would like to thank the developers who worked with us to reach these agreements in support of the App Store’s goals and for the benefit of all our users.”
Based on the statement so far, it appears that Apple has made a number of concessions, keeping certain limits, such as not allowing third-party apps, in place. Before the final court resolution, here’s what we know about the decision so far, on seven points.
- Developers can share purchase options with users outside of their iOS apps through communications such as email. Apple also notes in its post that users must consent to the communication and have the right to cancel.
- Apple has also expanded the price points developers can offer for subscriptions, in-app purchases and paid apps. Previously, he had fewer than 100 options, and that will increase to over 500, he said.
- It also launched a new fund to help qualified American developers. Qualified developers must have earned $1 million or less from the US store for all of their apps in each calendar year they were active, between June 2015 and April 2021. According to Apple, this represents 99% of developers.
- Apple also said it will publish a transparency report on the App Store, including statistics on the app review process, including the number of apps rejected for different reasons, and the number of apps removed from the App Store.
- However, Apple will continue to have its revenue cut as before. Companies that have earned less than $1 million will have to pay a reduced commission, at least for the next three years, as part of Apple’s App Store Small Business Program.
- Also, while app makers can now email people about alternative payment options, the ad doesn’t say those options can be offered from within the app. From the announcement, it also appears that app makers cannot configure a buy or subscription button that will open a webpage to complete the transaction.
- It also makes no mention of third-party App Stores or side loading of apps, which has prevented, for example, game distribution services like Microsoft’s xCloud from releasing iOS apps.
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