The Coalition for App Fairness is unimpressed by Apple's App Store 'sham' settlement

App Store
App Store (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • The Coalition for App Fairness believes Apple's latest App Store settlement is nothing more than a "sham."
  • Apple has agreed to create a $100m fund for US-based developers as part of the settlement relating to a class action suit from 2019.
  • The coalition was formed in the face of perceived unfair App Store practices.

As developers come to terms with Apple's attempt to settle a 2019 App Store lawsuit, one outspoken group has called it nothing more than a "sham settlement," going on to say that the move was made to "avoid the judgment" of regulators around the world.

As part of the new agreement, Apple will now allow developers to email customers to inform them of cheaper prices outside of the App Store. A $100 million developer fund is also being set up, although that will only apply to developers in the United States.

The agreement clarifies that developers can share purchase options with users outside of their iOS app; expands the price points developers can offer for subscriptions, in-app purchases, and paid apps; and establishes a new fund to assist qualifying US developers. The updates constitute the latest chapter of Apple's longstanding efforts to evolve the App Store into an even better marketplace for users and developers alike.

However, in an email to AppleInsider, developer advocates the Coalition for App Fairness note that nothing will really change as a result of the settlement.

"This offer does nothing to address the structural, foundational problems facing all developers, large and small, undermining innovation and competition in the app ecosystem," it continues. "Allowing developers to communicate with their customers about lower prices outside of their apps is not a concession and further highlights Apple's total control over the app marketplace."

Developers have long asked to be allowed to accept payments via other methods, not just the App Store and its in-app purchase system. Yesterday's news doesn't allow that.

"If this settlement is approved, app makers will still be barred from communicating about lower prices or offering competing payment options within their apps," says the statement. "We will not be appeased by empty gestures and will continue our fight for fair and open digital platforms."

You can learn more about what Apple will do as part of its attempts to settle its 2019 lawsuit in yesterday's report.

The coalition was originally formed to try and force Apple to make sweeping changes to the way apps are sold in the App Store, with big-name players involved including Spotify and Epic Games among others.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.