Apple has settled a class action lawsuit with developers and, in the process, agreed to major changes to how the App Store operates.
Once the darling of the software industry, praised for making it easy for small developers to focus on development while Apple handles logistics, the App Store has increasingly drawn criticism in recent years. Developers have criticized the commission Apple charges, being locked in to Apple’s payment systems and the general level of control the company has over the App Store.
Apple has now agreed to settle a class action lawsuit a group of developers brought against it. As part of the settlement, Apple will create a $100,000,000 fund for payments to developers, ranging from $250 to $30,000, according to AppleInsider.
Apple has also agreed to keep its 15% commission for smaller developers — those that earn less than $1 million a year — in effect for at least three years.
The biggest concession, however, is that Apple will allow developers to contact customers — via outside communication methods, not in-app — to inform them of alternative payment options outside of the App Store. This would effectively allow developers to bypass Apple’s commission altogether. Being able to accept outside payments is one of the biggest points of contention for many developers, and is central to Epic’s case against Apple.
“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.”
The announcement was met with mixed reactions from legislators, with many praising the move while insisting there was still more to be done.