The App Store can become more democratic. Apple has prepared seven indulgences for developers at once. Among them is the opportunity to tell that in-game items are cheaper to buy on the game’s website, and not in an application downloaded from the store.

Photo by Gonzalo Fuentes from REUTERS
All this is Apple’s response to a lawsuit filed against it in 2019 by a group of American developers.

According to Bloomberg, the company decided to settle the dispute, and therefore agreed to a relaxation of the App Store policy. Apple is also going to split $100 million between developers who earned $1 million or less “for each calendar year from June 4, 2015 to April 26, 2021.” The payout to everyone can range from $ 250 to $ 30 thousand.

What specific exemptions is Apple going to introduce:

  • The company will continue to charge developers earning less than a million dollars a year a 15% commission for at least three more years. Probably, this initiative did not have an approved deadline before;
  • it will keep the current system of search in the App Store for at least another three years. Search results will continue to take into account such things as: app downloads, its rating, relevance of the search query and user behavior;
  • Apple will lift the ban on billing. Developers will be able to send emails to users with an offer to buy in-game items, currency, or a subscription outside of iOS. However, users must first agree to this;
  • the company will increase the number of price categories for the applications themselves, purchases in them and subscriptions from 100 to 500;
  • It will retain the opportunity for developers to appeal if the App Store team unfairly disapproved of the app. The company will also add additional information to the App Review section so that developers learn more about the appeal process.;
  • The company will publish an App Store transparency report annually. It will include “meaningful statistics about the app purchase, including the number of applications rejected for various reasons, the number of deactivated customer and developer accounts, objective data on search queries and search results, as well as the number of applications removed from the App Store”;
  • Apple will create a fund to help small developers from the USA. The company will disclose details about the fund later, but it is likely that we are talking about the payments mentioned at the beginning of the news.

These proposals will take effect only after the approval of Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers (Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers). Note that the same judge is handling the case of Apple and Epic Games.

Apple’s move has already been approved by some American officials. Among them are Senators Amy Klobuchar (Amy Klobuchar) and Richard Blumenthal, who two weeks ago proposed to reduce the power of Google and Apple over the stores. In their opinion, Apple’s decision is a good step towards solving the problem, but we cannot limit ourselves to it.

However, the Coalition for App Fairness, which includes companies such as Spotify, Epic Games, believes that Apple has not done enough.

“Apple’s alleged settlement offer is nothing more than a desperate attempt to avoid courts and regulatory problems around the world,” the coalition said. “It does nothing to solve the structural, fundamental problems faced by developers of all sizes, which undermine innovation and competition in the application ecosystem.”

In recent months, Apple’s tough policy towards the App Store has become the focus of attention of the authorities of different countries. In addition to the mentioned sectors from the United States, it (as well as Google’s policy) was condemned by officials from South Korea. In the near future, Koreans may adopt a law that prohibits large mobile stores from imposing their payment systems on developers for in-app purchases.