Apple and US developers reach agreement to end class action lawsuit with help and changes in the App Store

Apple has just announced a new important step within the App Store, after having maintained an agreement with the American developers. The agreed-upon changes have yet to be ratified by the courts, but they will end the class action lawsuit launched a few years ago by the US developers and is being handled by the same judge who is handling the Epic v Apple case.

Agreements reached prioritize seven key points where the App Store user will continue to be protected and developers will be supported

The company and said group of developers worked together to agree on a solution that not only provides more business opportunities but also maintains user security and trust in the popular App Store. The most important points of the agreement are to allow developers to inform about other purchasing options outside of their app for iOS, by expanding the price points they can offer for subscriptions, purchases integrated and paid applications. The company will also create a new fund to help (US) developers who meet certain requirements. All agreements apply to developers of all App Stores in the world (whether they pay a commission or not), with the exception of this last point of the Aid Fund which is exclusively reserved for US developers.

According to Phill Schiller, Head of the App Store and Apple Events, “The App Store has been an economic miracle; it is the safest and most reliable place for users to download apps, and it is an incredible business opportunity for developers. to innovate, prosper and grow. He also reiterates his thanks for entering into this agreement. “We want to thank the developers who have worked with us to achieve these agreements in line with the goals of the App Store and which benefit all users.”

More flexibility and resources for developers, more transparency for Apple

The terms of the settlement were negotiated in what the company calls a “productive dialogue” between Apple and the plaintiffs in the case. The seven identified priorities shared between the two parties and referred to the judge presiding over the case for approval are as follows:

Apple and the developers agree to maintain the App Store Small Business program in its current structure for at least the next three years. This program started operating in November 2020 and helps small businesses with annual revenues of up to $ 1 million earn a reduced commission of 15% on all transactions. At the request of the developers, Apple agrees that search results will continue to be based on objective data such as downloads, ratings, text relevance, and user interaction – as it currently works – and will keep it active for at least the next three years. Apple clarifies that additional communication channels may be used to notify customers of other payment methods outside of its iOS app, provided users give their consent to receive such communications and Apple does not receive any commission for them. payment methods outside the App Store. Apple will step up to the 500 price points developers can offer for subscriptions, in-app purchases, and paid apps – and they’ll still be able to choose whatever price they see fit for themselves. Currently there are over 100 price points. Apple maintains the ability for developers to appeal an app rejection if they perceive unfair treatment, which in the past has served to clarify terms between the two parties or to avoid confusion. The company also agrees to further clarify app review concepts on its website to make it easier for developers to make the appeals process work. Apple commits to creating an annual transparency report with data that will include important statistics on the app review process: number of apps rejected for various reasons, number of deactivated customer and developer accounts, objective research data and their results and the number of apps deleted from the App Store. Apple will create an economic fund to also help small developers (only in the United States). To be eligible, developers must have entered a maximum of $ 1 million in the US Store across all of their apps in each of the years in which they had an account between June 4, 2015 and December 31, 2020 – covering 99 % of US developers More specific details will be released later. For the moment, the measure is not intended to extend to other countries, but Apple could consider it in the future.

The agreements reached (with the exception of the financial aid fund which is currently exclusively reserved for the United States) will be applied worldwide when the agreements are ratified by the judge.

As we have been able to request from Apple, the approval of these agreements is provisionally expected in mid-October 2021 and the final decision of the judge hearing the case could arrive in early March 2022.

Pictures | James Yarema, Maxwell Nelson and Christina

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