Apple & US developers agree to App Store improvements

Apple has been lately been on a spree of updating its policies. It began with the App Tracking Transparency feature which received a somewhat lukewarm response from the developers and it seems that the company is far from done. In a press release, it stated that the Silicon Valley-based tech juggernaut and US developers have finally agreed upon the App store improvements.

Apple today announced a series of App Store modifications that, subject to court approval, will resolve a class-action lawsuit brought by US developers.

Further Details

The parameters of the deal, according to the press release, will help make the App Store an even better business opportunity for developers while maintaining the safe and trusted marketplace that customers enjoy. “Apple respects the continuing court review process and appreciates the developer opinions and ideas that helped shape the agreement.”

The agreement explains that developers can share purchase alternatives with consumers outside of their iOS app; it also widens the price points that developers can provide for subscriptions, in-app purchases, and premium apps; and it creates a new fund to help qualified US developers. The revisions are the latest step in Apple’s long-running endeavor to improve the App Store as a marketplace for both users and developers.

Apple and the plaintiffs in the Cameron et al v. Apple Inc. developer litigation established an agreement that lists seven major principles that both Apple and small developers share, which includes:

  1. The developers and Apple decided to keep the program in its current form for at least the next three years.
  2. Apple has decided to continue to base its Search results on objective factors including downloads, star ratings, text relevancy, and user behavior signals, as requested by developers.
  3. Apple is also stressing that developers can employ communications, such as email, to send information about payment methods outside of their iOS app to provide them even more freedom in reaching their customers.
  4. Apple will also increase the number of subscription, in-app purchases, and paid app price points accessible to developers from less than 100 to more than 500. Developers will be able to choose their prices in the future.
  5. Apple will keep the opportunity for developers to appeal an app’s rejection based on perceived unfair treatment, which has proven to be successful in the past.
  6. Apple agreed to create an annual transparency report based on that information, which will include useful statistics about the app review process, such as the number of apps rejected for various reasons, the number of customer and developer accounts deactivated, objective data about search queries, and results, and the number of apps removed from the App Store.
  7. Apple will also create a fund to help small US developers, which is especially important as the world continues to be affected by COVID-19.

With the launch of the News Partner Program, Apple also revealed other App Store improvements. The program includes a new slate of projects to enhance Apple’s support for media, recognizing the significance of rigorous journalism and a free and independent press.

The aforementioned developments between Apple and US developers are quite interesting. This is not the first time developers have caused a stir with Apple, previously when the App Tracking Transparency feature was released to limit data sharing similar reactions were received. We will have to wait for the final verdict by the court to see if the agreements are successfully implemented or will they be revised.

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