Apple proposed a settlement in a class-action lawsuit filed by U.S. developers in 2019.
The proposed settlement agreement includes a $100 million payout from Apple to be split among devs who earned $1 million or less “for all of their apps in every calendar year in which the developers had an account between June 4, 2015, and April 26, 2021.” Apple has called it “Small Developer Assistance Fund,” and the individual payments will range from $250 to $30,000 per developer.
Apple has also clarified that the U.S. developers can now inform customers about independent payment options outside the App Store. It is a big deal because developers can reach customers using contact information, such as emails, obtained inside their apps. Previously, developers have had to figure out alternative ways to get that info.
But it’s not a terribly big deal because devs will still have to advertise alternative pricing and payment options outside their apps. Plus, no communication will be possible unless without users’ consent. Plus, the concession is limited to the U.S. app makers, with nothing changed for the rest of the world. Plus, this will only come into effect if approved by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. By the way, that’s the same judge that is overseeing the Apple v. Epic Games lawsuit.
There are some other small concessions such as allowing devs to set more than 500 price points (right now, limited to fewer than 100) or publishing an annual App Store transparency report.
However, the settlement agreement still doesn’t allow developers to sell their apps outside the App Store. Nor does it allow third-party app stores.
“This offer does nothing to address the structural, foundational problems facing all developers, large and small, undermining innovation and competition in the app ecosystem,” Meghan DiMuzio, executive director of the Coalition for App Fairness, said (via Bloomberg). “Allowing developers to communicate with their customers about lower prices outside of their apps is not a concession and further highlights Apple’s total control over the app marketplace.”
Apple, on the other hand, said that “with the updates announced today, the App Store continues to evolve into an even better business opportunity for developers, while maintaining a safe and trusted marketplace for users.”