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Thursday, December 02, 2021

Apple updates App Store payment guidelines to allow developers to contact customers directly

Apple noted that developers will be able to ask users for basic information, such as names and e-mail addresses, as long as its optional, and not a required part of using their app.

By: Tech Desk | Pune |
October 25, 2021 3:22:21 pm
Apple updates its payment policy , will now allow developers to contact customers directly. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Apple on Friday announced a major update to its App Store payment policy—allowing developers to provide information to their customers regarding making payments outside the App Store,  bypassing Apple’s commission of 15 to 30 percent.

The new guidelines released by Apple noted that developers will be able to ask their users for basic information, such as names and e-mail addresses, as long as its optional, and not a required part of using their app. Previously, Apple did not allow developers to direct users through email to their websites to pay for digital products. “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,” Apple said in a statement.

“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. By informing customers of alternative payment options, developers can avoid paying Apple’s commissions and, moreover, exert competitive pressure on Apple to discipline its pricing,” the company added.

It is worth noting that the change in Apple’s payment policy still does not allow developers to have an independent payment system. However, Apple now won’t stop developers from including external links that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms that allows developers to communicate with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration.

Meanwhile, last week, Google also announced that it is lowering its Play store fees for all subscription-based services to 15 percent from the existing 30 per cent starting January 1, 2022.

The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), a think tank with more than 440 digital startups, has called Apple’s new update a major victory for the developer and startup community who have been vocal against the restrictive and anti-competitive practices of the two big tech giants through their AppStore/Play Store policies.

“Practices that restrict app developers with their product and user experience choices still persist. For instance, Apple has still not relented on allowing alternative payment systems to be embedded directly in their apps. It is crucial now to ensure that the efforts towards making the app economy a fair marketplace are sustained. It is only when all such restrictive practices are also done away with that the app marketplace can be deemed a true level playing field that allows for innovation to thrive,” asserted Sijo Kuruvilla George, Executive Director, ADIF.

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