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Thursday, February 9, 2023
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Thursday, February 9, 2023
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    Apple loosens tight grip on App Store pricing

    SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Apple on Tuesday announced the biggest upgrade to the App Store pricing system since the launch of the shop, allowing developers to charge from USD0.29 to USD10,000 for their offerings.

    The enhanced pricing options to be available for all transactions at the App Store by spring of next year were touted along with new capabilities intended to make it easier for those offering their wares to manage sales, returns, taxes, and other features, Apple said in a blog post.

    The deviation from the Apple’s long held USD0.99 price floor comes as the Silicon Valley titan fends off accusations of having a monopolistic grip on the App Store that acts as the lone gateway onto iPhones.

    “These newly announced tools, which will begin rolling out today and continue throughout 2023, will create even more flexibility for developers to price their products while staying approachable to the hundreds of millions of users Apple serves worldwide,” the Cupertino based company said.

    “And, in turn help developers continue to thrive on the App Store.”

    Under the updated pricing system, developers will be able to choose from 900 price points, which is nearly 10 times the number of pricing options previously available for app makers, Apple said.

    App Store logo. PHOTO: AP

    Apple last year agreed to expand pricing options at the App Store as part of a USD100 million settlement to resolve a class-action lawsuit filed by United States (US) developers unhappy with paying commissions of up to 30 percent on transactions.

    Apple said at the time that the settlement was “the latest chapter of Apple’s longstanding efforts to evolve the App Store into an even better marketplace for users and developers alike.”

    Apple is also under political pressure in the US and Europe to relax its hold on the App Store, which has been bashed by the likes of Spotify, Fortnite maker Epic Games, and new Twitter owner Elon Musk.

    In 2021 a California judge ruled against Epic, which had accused Apple of acting like a monopoly through its App Store.

    But the judge also barred Apple from prohibiting developers from including in their apps “external links or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms”.

    The judgment ruled that Apple can still mandate that its payment systems be used for in-app transactions.

    In the European Union (EU), a new piece of legislation due to be implemented in May 2023 will force Apple to open up its iPhone operating system to other payment options and app stores.

    The Digital Markets Act will also prohibit the iPhone from offering preferential treatment to Apple’s own services, such as Apple Music or the Safari browser.

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