Apple Making Multiple App Store Changes to Settle Class-Action Developer Lawsuit

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Apple today announced plans to make several changes to the App Store in order to settle a class-action lawsuit that was brought against Apple by developers in the United States.

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Under the terms of the deal, Apple will allow developers to share purchase options with users outside of their iOS app using email, and it will expand the price points that developers can offer for apps, subscriptions, and in-app purchases. Apple also plans to create a fund to support small developers, and it will release annual transparency reports covering the app review process.

Apple says that the settlement will make the ‌App Store‌ an “even better business opportunity for developers” while maintaining the safety of the ‌App Store‌.

“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, 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 goals of the App Store and to the benefit of all of our users.”

Under the terms of the deal, Apple and the developers involved in the lawsuit (Cameron et al) have established an agreement that “identifies seven key priorities shared by Apple and small developers.” These are the measures that Apple plans to introduce as part of the settlement.

  • Apple will maintain the ‌App Store‌ Small Business Program in its current structure for the next three years. Businesses earning less than $1 million annually will continue to pay a reduced 15 percent commission, while developers earning over that target will pay the standard 30 percent commission.
  • ‌App Store‌ search results will continue to be based on objective characteristics like downloads, star ratings, text relevance, and user behavior signals. Apple will maintain the current ‌App Store‌ search system for at least three years.
  • Apple will allow developers to use communications like email to share information about payment methods available outside of their iOS apps. Developers will not pay Apple a commission on purchases taking place outside of the app or the ‌App Store‌. Users must consent to the communication and can opt out.
  • Apple will expand the number of price points available to developers for subscriptions, in-app purchases, and paid apps from fewer than 100 to more than 500.
  • Apple will maintain the option for developers to repeal the rejection of an app based on perceived unfair treatment. Apple will add content to the App Review website to help developers better understand the appeals process.
  • Apple will create an annual transparency report based on ‌App Store‌ data, which will provide meaningful statistics about the app review process, including the number of apps rejected for different reasons, the number of customer and developer accounts deactivated, objective data regarding search queries and results, and the number of apps removed from the ‌App Store‌.
  • Apple will also establish a fund to assist small US developers. Eligible developers must have earned $1 million or less through the US storefront for all of their apps in every calendar year in which the developers had an account between June 4, 2015, and April 26, 2021 — encompassing 99 percent of developers in the US. More detail will be provided later.

Apple will be implementing these changes pending approval from the judge overseeing the case.

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