Apple's Plan to Pay $100 Million to Settle Developer Lawsuit Gets Preliminary Approval From Judge
Back in August, Apple said that it would pay out $100 million and make several changes to the App Store to settle a class-action lawsuit brought about by developers, and the settlement offer received preliminary approval yesterday from Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers, who is overseeing that case in addition to the Epic v. Apple lawsuit.
Under the terms of the agreement, Apple will create a $100 million "fund," which developers can access based on their historic App Store proceeds. Developers who earned $1 million or less through the U.S. storefront for their apps in every calendar year between June 4, 2015 and April 26, 2021 can receive between $250 and $30,000. Higher payments will be made to those who have participated more extensively in the App Store ecosystem.
Eligible developers will be able to make claims when the settlement receives final approval, and can sign up to be alerted when claims are being accepted through a website created for the lawsuit.
In addition to paying $100 million, Apple agreed to maintain the App Store Small Business Program in its current structure for the next three years, and it will allow developers to use communication methods like email to share information about payment methods available outside of their iOS apps.
Other terms include more App Store pricing options, the publication of an annual transparency report based on App Store data, and tools that allow developers to appeal the rejection of an app. Full details on what Apple has agreed to can be found in our original settlement article.
The lawsuit dates back to 2019, when a group of iOS developers accused Apple of using its App Store monopoly to impose "profit-killing" commissions. The developers were unhappy with Apple's 30 percent cut, an issue that was largely resolved when Apple introduced the App Store Small Business Program and cut commissions to 15 percent for developers making under $1 million in a given calendar year.
Going forward, briefs, papers, and memoranda in support of the final approval of the settlement must be filed by April 29, 2022, and a Fairness and Final Approval Hearing will take place on June 7, 2022. If and when final approval is granted, developers will begin to receive money from Apple.