April 12, 2024

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Apple's last-minute App Store changes come with a catch — here's what developers think

Apple's last-minute App Store changes come with a catch — here's what developers think

Apple's plans to comply with new EU rules governing big tech are already off to an interesting start, and not just because Apple has pulled Epic Games' developer license. Apple made last-minute changes to its Digital Markets Act (DMA) compliance plan to add flexibility, but they were met with mixed reactions among developers.

Developers considering Apple's post-DMA fee structure, which comes with the new “Core Technology Fee,” can now try it out and then return to the original terms — rather than making the change a one-way trip, as originally announced. in Update posted on TuesdayApple says it has created a “one-time option” to revert to the standard Apple agreement if “unexpected business changes” occur or if developers change their minds. But there's a caveat: Developers can only switch back if they don't put their apps in an alternative app store or use alternative payment options.

Apple's new rules allow developers to distribute their apps on third-party marketplaces and use alternative payment options. Even if they don't distribute outside of the App Store, they can sign up for the new structure and benefit from the lower App Store commission rate. But if their app has more than 1 million annual installs per year, they'll have to pay a 50-cent fee for each additional install and update — which can add up, especially for popular freemium apps.

Apple is now giving developers a chance to return to its standard terms, which means eliminating per-install fees and returning to a higher commission rate. This provides a way out for app creators who have millions of downloads but can't afford the fees, but only if they don't exit the App Store. While this would allow developers to test Apple's new terms, it also arguably discourages developers from trying alternative app stores, undermining a key goal of the DMA.

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“I think the concept of these new agreements… bears an uncanny resemblance to a mafia-like developer ultimatum, which basically conveys, 'Remember who's in charge here, I'm your friend if you remember;' “I'm willing to give you another chance to stay with me,” says developer and author Maximiliano Fertmann the edge. “This new rule, along with most of the new regulations for publishing in EU countries, appears to be very complex, which could create a significant barrier for developers, preventing them from even trying to navigate these waters.”

But other developers see the update as a welcome change. “I think this will encourage more developers (especially Indians) to embrace the terms Just For a reduced App Store commission rate, because now they can “try it” and see if they stay within the CTF [Core Technology fee] “Threshold,” AltStore developer Riley Testut says in an emailed statement to the edge. “I don't expect many developers to actually come back, but just knowing they can will give them the confidence to embrace the terms.”

David Barnard, founder of software development company Contrast, wrote similarly in an article Share on X Apple “removed the risk by accepting the new terms.” In addition to allowing developers to revert to Apple's standard terms, Apple is also making it easier for some developers to open an alternative App Store. like Set forth in Apple's termsDevelopers can now open a third-party store if they have been members in good standing of Apple's Developer Program for at least two consecutive years and have an app with more than 1 million annual installs in the EU. Apple previously required all developers to provide a €1 million letter of credit from an “A” rated financial institution.

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