Playing Nice: Apple Will Let Developers Tell Customers About Alternative Payment Methods in Major Policy Shift

Tim Cook before iPhones
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Apple has reportedly agreed to allow app developers to contact users to inform them about alternative payment options outside of the Apple app store ecosystem, marking a serious departure from the company’s previous policies. Apple takes up to 30 percent of revenues from developers for all purchases made within the app store, and is embroiled in a major lawsuit with Fortnite developer Epic Games over developers’ right to deal with customers directly.

CNBC reports that tech giant Apple has agreed to allow iOS app developers to contact users via email about alternative purchase options, potentially allowing users to avoid paying for apps via Apple’s App Store ecosystem. This could allow developers to completely bypass the 15 percent to 30 percent fee Apple charges in App Store payment fees.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 28: Apple CEO Tim Cook attends Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show” World Premiere at David Geffen Hall on October 28, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

Previously, Apple required all app makers to direct users to Apple’s websites to pay for apps when contacting them via email. Now, developers are permitted to use information obtained via their apps — such as user email addresses — to contact customers and offer alternative methods to pay for the app.

Apple said in a press release:

To give developers even more flexibility to reach their customers, Apple is also clarifying that developers can use communications, such as email, to share information about payment methods outside of their iOS app.

As always, developers will not pay Apple a commission on any purchases taking place outside of their app or the App Store. Users must consent to the communication and have the right to opt out.

The policy change comes as Apple settles a class action lawsuit with developers who claimed that Apple monopolized the distribution of iOS app and in-app purchases which lead to commission overcharges.

Aside from the class-action developer lawsuit, Apple is still currently embroiled in a major antitrust trial against the developer of the popular Fortnite video game, Epic Games. The trial began after Epic offered users an alternative payment method within the Fortnite iOS app resulting in Apple removing the game from its App Store. It is expected that a ruling on the antitrust case will come sometime later this year.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 26: Fans attend day one of the Fortnite World Cup Finals at Arthur Ashe Stadium on July 26, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Read more at CNBC here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address


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