Apple’s new concession for developers who want to do without the App Store


Since March, iOS app developers in the European Union can distribute their apps to alternative stores without going through the App Store. The measure was taken to make iOS compliant with the Digital Markets Act, the new EU legislation regulating digital giants. And this has been strengthened by the advent of web distribution, which allows certain developers to distribute their applications directly on their sites without having to go through a store (the App Store or one of its competitors).

Apple is changing the terms for CTF

However, developers are not completely free on iOS. Indeed, Apple continues to review applications that are distributed on iOS through a notary system. Additionally, when a developer wants to distribute their app outside of the App Store, Apple may charge a technology fee called the Core Technology Fee (CTF). “Developers pay a CTF of €0.50 for each annual first install over one million in the last 12 months”we can read on Apple’s website.

In other words, the developer has to pay this fee for every first install when it crosses the one million mark, during the year. But the good news is that after the criticism, Apple has just announced some relief. Unless the underlying technology fee is waived, the new terms announced by the firm will allow more developers to avoid the fees or not pay them in the first place.

Apple is making new adjustments

In a post on its developer website, the Cupertino company announces that it will not charge a CTF of €0.50 if the app does not generate revenue (sales of physical or digital goods, advertising, etc.). This measure targets developers who create apps without monetizing them, such as students, hobbyists, and non-commercial entities. In the initial terms, Apple has already exempted government entities, non-governmental organizations and educational institutions.

But beyond that, Apple is announcing another change that will initially allow small developers to avoid paying the CTF. “(…) small developers (less than 10 million euros in global annual turnover*) who accept alternative business terms benefit from free access to the CTF for 3 years, helping them create innovative applications and rapidly grow their business”indicates the Cupertino company.

Don’t screw up small developers

For example, if a small developer develops an app that quickly goes viral, it will not be destroyed due to the underlying technology fee if it crosses the one million download mark. Anyway, for Apple, charging these technology fees is justified. According to the company’s explanation, these costs “They reflect the value Apple provides to developers through the tools, technologies and services that enable them to create and share innovative applications.”

Otherwise, Apple has also just announced the changes it will make to iPadOS to make the operating system DMA compatible.

  • When a developer distributes an app outside of the App Store, Apple can charge technology fees when the threshold is exceeded
  • But the company has just adjusted its conditions
  • Developers who do not generate revenue from their apps will not have to pay technology fees
  • In addition, small developers do not have to pay fees for the first three years.

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