An out-of-court settlement will, pending court approval, conclude a class-action lawsuit against Apple by independent developers who will now be allowed to directly contact their users about ways to avoid paying the ‘Apple Tax’.
The agreement is also accompanied by a $100 million payout to be distributed among App Store developers who have earned less than $1m over the past six years.
Apple has also guaranteed it will maintain its small business programme which cuts the App Store commission from 30% to 15% for developers who earn less than $1 million a year, for a further three years minimum. There’s also a promise to offer more flexibility on pricing within the App Store.
The settlement is seen as a small but important concession from Apple, though apps will still be required to offer exclusively in-app payments using Apple’s own system. They will also still be banned from telling users within the app that other payment options may exist elsewhere.
Those latter issues are key to “Fortnite” creator Epic Games’ ongoing lawsuit with Apple. With this settlement though, developers can e-mail and contact users using methods outside their apps to offer a switch of payment methods such as to a credit card. Users must consent to the communication and have the right to opt-out as well.
The settlement and lawsuit are separate from the high-profile antitrust lawsuit that Epic Games filed against Apple. The judge overseeing the settlement, Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers, is also presiding over Epic Games v. Apple where the verdict has not yet been handed down.