App Store Billing Change
Apple’s new update is that app developers are now allowed to email their users about non-Apple purchase options, a big refresh to the App Store policy. Previously, Apple did not allow app developers to use their own proprietary websites to pay for digital products. For app developers, contacting their customers directly for payments is much easier as it bypasses the fees enacted by the App Store, ranging from 15%-30%. With the new change, developers are allowed to use email addresses they collect through their apps to communicate with their customers directly and allow them to pay outside of the App Store. Apple announced in a press release that, “To give developers even more flexibility to reach their customers, Apple is also clarifying that developers can use communications, such as email, to share information about payment methods outside of their iOS app … As always, developers will not pay Apple a commission on any purchases taking place outside of their app or the App Store. Users must consent to the communication and have the right to opt out.”
This change in policy was caused by Apple’s class action lawsuit with developers who accused Apple of monopolization over the distribution of iOS apps and in-app purchases that led to overcharging on commission. Additionally, Apple is facing outside pressure on its App Store policies globally, with an antitrust trial against Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite. The outcome of this trial is expected to be released later this year.
The App Store policy change also brings along several other changes. Firstly, the small business program requires Apple to keep the lower 15% commission for companies making under $1M on the App Store for at least 3 years. The search and discovery feature of the App Store will be experimented with to give newer apps a chance at becoming more mainstream. Developers will be allowed to choose a variety of prices, unlike the previous requirement of needing near-dollar figures such as $0.99. Along with more changes that developers asked for, the App Store is changing hopefully in a positive direction for the developers.