Apple announced it would make major changes to its app store as part of a settlement with developers, following years of mounting regulator scrutiny and legal challenges.
Apple will let developers tell its iPhone and iPad customers about ways to pay for apps outside the company’s official app store, it said in a news release late Thursday.
The move would be the biggest change Apple has made in response to accusations that it has monopoly powers. Companies including Fortnite-maker Epic Games have alleged Apple wields too much control over how people can purchase apps for iOS devices, forcing them to go through the official app store, which charges a 30% commission.
The settlement is the iPhone giant’s greatest allowance to aggrieved developers following years of regulatory scrutiny of its app store rules. Earlier this summer, a bipartisan pair of senators introduced legislation that would have prohibited companies from requiring developers to use their payment system.
The company’s app store rules are also being scrutinized by the U.S. Justice Department.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has long claimed the tightly controlled store is necessary to weed out malware, scams and other unsavory apps. However a June analysis by The Washington Post found that of the 1,000 highest-grossing apps on the app store, nearly 2% were scams.
The proposed app store changes, announced in a news release, are still pending court approval and Apple did not give a date on when they would be released.
The Washington Post’s Cat Zakrzewski and Heather Kelly contributed to this report.