Apple in August announced plans to pay $100 million to settle a class-action lawsuit levied by U.S. developers, and as of today, the website that will allow developers to submit a claim for a payout has gone live.
The $100 million that Apple provided is being distributed as part of a “Small Developer Assistance Fund,” and developers can claim between $250 and $30,000 based on their historic App Store participation. Claims can now be submitted using the Small Developer Assistance website, which also has tools for estimating payments.
Eligible U.S. developers must meet the following criteria for apps:
Was sold for a non-zero price;
Was sold via Apple’s iOS App Store between 2015 and 2021; and
Earned, together with any other iOS applications or in-app products (including subscriptions) sold through all of your associated developer accounts, proceeds equal to or less than $1,000,000.00 through the App Store U.S. storefront in every calendar year from 2015 to 2021 in which you had a developer account.
According to the settlement, there are approximately 67,000 eligible developers. Developers who earned less than $100 will get a potential minimum payment of $250, while those who earned over $1,000,000 will be entitled to the $30,000 payment. Minimum payments are subjected to change based on the total number of claims.
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 lawsuit took issue with Apple’s 30 percent cut of App Store sales, and was largely addressed with the late 2020 announcement of the App Store Small Business Program that cut the commission that small developers have to pay to 15 percent.
Along with the $100 million payment to developers, Apple also agreed to some other concessions. Perhaps the biggest concession will see Apple allowing developers to use communications like email to share information about payment methods available outside of iOS apps. Developers will not pay Apple a commission on purchases that take place outside of the App Store.
Apple is also expanding the number of price points available to developers for subscriptions, and the company has agreed to maintain the App Store Small Business Program and App Store search, making no changes for at least three years. Apple also promised to continue to offer developers the option to appeal an app rejection, and it will create an annual transparency report based on App Store data covering app rejections, apps removed from the App Store, search information, and more.
Developers need to submit claims by May 20, 2022 to get a payment from Apple, and there will be a final approval hearing on June 7, 2022. The actual payout date will vary based on whether there are objections, how long it takes to resolve those objections, and whether the agreement receives final approval from the court.