Apple Is Finally Ready to Settle a Years-Old Lawsuit From Developers

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As a result of a class-action lawsuit from US app developers, Apple has announced a slew of changes to the App Store as part of a proposed settlement agreement. US developers filed litigation against the tech giant back in 2019 to break the tech giant’s “improper monopolization” of iOS apps.

Pending approval from the court, Apple will payout $100 million and also clarify several of its app store policies. Most notably, it will allow developers to reach out to customers (with permission from the user) to collect information inside their apps, allowing them to email about alternative payment options available outside the App Store.

Developers on the App Store could previously communicate with customers outside of their apps and even collect payments outside of their apps (e.g. renewing a Netflix subscription on the official Netflix website). But prior to this proposed settlement, developers were not allowed to communicate with iOS customers about other payment options available outside of the App Store.

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However, the potential changes to the app store would still not allow developers to inform iOS users about alternative payment options from within the app itself so that developers could bypass the “app store tax,” a 30 percent cut Apple receives from the in-app payment system. Apple’s in-app payment cut has been the subject of a different lawsuit filed by Epic Games last year, which a federal judge is currently reviewing after the case was argued in May.

Another concession Apple will make should the proposed agreement get approved for the case Cameron et al. v. Apple Inc, is that the iPhone maker will create a Small Developer Assistance Fund. It will payout $100 million, divided among small developers who make $1 million or less, with payouts varying depending on how many people submit and are approved for their claim. The remaining funds will be donated to the nonprofit Girls Who Code. The website is up, but it is not fully operational, likely due to the settlement pending approval from a judge.

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Taylor is the Associate Tech Editor at IGN. You can follow her on Twitter @TayNixster.

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