As part of an out-of-court settlement, Apple has agreed to make changes to the App Store to help developers.
As a good ‘fenced garden’ that it is, the App Store has serious limitations for developers and users. Apple must approve each app separately, and it has a series of rules, some seemingly arbitrary, to decide what goes in and what goes out. One of those rules refers to payments: all those that are integrated into the apps must be made through the Apple platform. In this way , the company takes a percentage of each purchase : 30% in general, and 15% if the creator makes less than 1 million dollars a year.
It’s obvious why this rule exists, to generate revenue for Apple, and some disagree; Thus was born the controversy of Fortnite, which tried to bypass the App Store by adding other methods to buy its virtual currency and was expelled almost instantly. Apple was sued for that, but that wasn’t the only legal problem it had; Already in 2019 it suffered a class action lawsuit from small American developers.
Today, that process has reached an out-of-court settlement, by which Apple agrees to make changes to its platform. The most striking is that it will allow developers to contact users and offer them methods to bypass the App Store to make payments, but the ‘fine print’ is important.
To begin with, developers will only be able to notify users that they can pay in another way using email , and in no case with notifications or notices in the app itself; In addition, users will have to voluntarily sign up for these emails by entering their address, and they will have a way to deactivate the notices.
The email may include other ways to pay for goods within the app, such as virtual currencies or subscriptions, using other payment platforms, such as PayPal, Google Pay, Stripe or a payment provider that uses a credit card, for example.
Apple has also committed to maintaining an App Store search that is fair and based on relevant parameters (avoiding modification of the search as it would have done in the past), as well as contributing $ 100 million to a fund for small developers.
A ‘detour’ to avoid Apple
So at this time it is really doubtful that this change will significantly affect developer revenue, although this is not the end of the story. Apple is still pending its trial with Epic Games, and is being the target of new laws in the United States and Europe that may force it to create a more open App Store.