Apple app developers may approach customers directly to avoid commission

Apple lets app developers use user data to directly inform them about payment methods outside the apps. If customers use these payment methods, the developers do not have to pay a commission to Apple.

App developers can use “communication tools” to inform their customers about payment methods outside the iOS apps, Apple writes. In the message, Apple cites e-mail as an example for such a means of communication. Starting this year, the developers were already allowed to inform customers about payment methods outside the iOS app, but were not allowed to use customer data that they had obtained through the iOS app. This is possible with the policy change. Customers must give permission for the use of the contact details.

The policy change is part of a settlement proposal with multiple US app developers. Apple does not indicate that the policy change only applies to American users, so Apple seems to be implementing the new policy internationally. When users pay within iOS apps, the developer has to pay 15 to 30 percent of the sales to Apple. If users pay via payment methods outside those iOS apps, developers do not have to pay anything to Apple.

The iOS developers filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple two years ago because they were unhappy with the rates charged in the App Store. Another policy change is giving developers more freedom to choose pricing for subscriptions, in-app purchases, and paid apps. The number of prizes available goes from one hundred to five hundred. This change will take effect on December 31, 2022, according to the settlement proposal published by The Verge.

Apple also said it will extend its reduced 15 percent commission for developers with annual revenue of less than $1 million, for a three-year extension. These developers also get access to a fund set up by Apple, although for the time being it only concerns American developers. Apple is making $100 million available for this fund.

For the time being, it concerns a settlement proposal; the judge will consider the proposal on 12 October. The developers who initiated the lawsuit say they are “happy and proud” of the proposed changes.

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