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Apple settles class action with developers, allows more communication with users

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Highlights:

  • Apple Settles With App Developers Without Making Major Concessions.
  • This would allow developers to communicate with customers by email and “other communication services”.
  • Apple will pay $100 million in settlements to developers.

App makers want to contact their customers directly to encourage them to pay directly and avoid Apple’s App Store fees, which range from 15% to 30% of gross sales. Apple will allow app developers to email their users about alternative purchase options, in a major change to App Store policies.

The company will also establish a $100 million fund for small developers. The Small Developer Assistance Fund will allow developers whose sales were less than $1 million a year from June 2015 to April 2021 to collect between $250 and $30,000. It will benefit more than 99% of developers, according to the plaintiffs. Developers will be able to set more than 500 price points for subscriptions, in-app purchases, and paid apps. Right now, they’re limited to fewer than 100, so the jump will allow developers to offer a wider range of prices.

Apple said in a press release:

“Apple is clarifying that developers can use communications, such as email, to share information about payment methods outside of their iOS app to give developers even more flexibility to reach their customers. Developers will not pay Apple a commission on any purchases taking place outside of their app or the App Store. Users must consent to the communication and have the right to opt-out.”

Launching the News Partner Program

Today, Apple also announced additional App Store updates with the launch of the News Partner Program. Recognizing the importance of rigorous journalism and a free and independent press, the program includes a new slate of initiatives to expand Apple’s support for journalism.

To participate in the program, news organizations must provide their customers with access to their content in Apple News using Apple News Format. Participating organizations will benefit from a 15 percent commission on qualifying subscriptions to their news app. The settlement brings an end to a two-year class action that was brought on by approximately 67,000 developers whose apps resided within the App Store marketplace.

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