Apple Agrees To App Store Policy Changes In Settlement With Small Developers As Antitrust Threat Looms

Apple has confirmed to make changes to its App store policy as part of a proposed settlement. This will allow developers to contact customers about alternative payment methods for in-app transactions. This will enable them to avoid Apple’s substantial commission fee. This comes at a time where Apple faces significant antitrust legal and legal challenges.

Apple has confirmed to make minor changes to its App store policy in response to a flood of antitrust complaints.

Apple has released a online press release stating that it will allow app developers access to iPhone and iPad users via email or other communication channels. This is something Apple had previously refused to allow.

However, users will need consent to receive communications and will be able to opt-out of receiving them.

The settlement proposed also increases the price points developers may charge for subscriptions, paid apps, and in-app purchases.

Apple has also committed to creating a $100-million fund for small app developers to receive payouts.

The iPhone maker has also agreed not to raise its commission rate to small developers, which was lowered from 30% to 15% last year–for at most three years.

A U.S. Federal Court Judge must approve the proposed changes, overseeing Epic Games’ lawsuit against Apple.

Steve Berman (a lawyer representing the plaintiffs in this suit) said to the New York Times that “we truly are proud that a case brought by two developers standing in the shoe more of U.S. IOS developers will help bring about such important change.”

Apple’s settlement appears to be a minor concession from the world’s most prosperous company as its App Store business practices face increasing antitrust scrutiny worldwide. Some app makers, like Spotify, already block new customers from signing up for subscriptions inside their iOS app. In the past, the music streamer has also sent out emails urging existing subscribers to ditch Apple’s payment system for a discount. Apple’s latest proposal will formalize this for all users. Apple has not made any concessions on payment methods within iOS. App developers must still use Apple’s payment system for any in-app transactions that take place on an iPhone and iPad. Apple is still waiting for a decision in a separate lawsuit brought by Epic Games, Fortnite-developer. The lawsuit seeks to give developers the ability to avoid Apple’s App Store commissions.

On Wednesday, a South Korean parliamentary committee voted to move forward a key legislative amendment to ban Apple and Google from forcibly charging app developers a commission on all add-on purchases by requiring them to use their proprietary payment systems. This month, a group of bipartisan U.S. senators introduced a similar bill that would bar companies from forcing their payment system on app developers. Last year, the European Union unveiled a set of proposals that would cause Apple and Google to divest parts of their business if they fail to adhere to fair competition rules.

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Adam Collins
Adam writes about technology, business and economics. With master's degree in Economics, he's presented six papers in international conferences. As a solivagant in the constant state of fernweh, curiosity is the main weapon in his arsenal.

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