Apple introduces 'contingent pricing,' redefining App Store dynamics

5 months ago 87
App Store icon displayed on a phone screen is seen in this illustration photo.

The marketplace on Apple's App Store is opening up opportunities for developers to make more deals.

Apple is piloting a feature called "contingent pricing" and is planning on rolling it out to developers "in the coming months." It's being sold as a way for developers to "attract and retain subscribers," and foster user loyalty by allowing developers to "give customers a discounted subscription price as long as they’re actively subscribed to a different subscription," Apple wrote in a post on the Apple Developer website.

Apple didn't give specific examples in the post, but it appears to be centered on partnership. For instance, if a smaller photo editing app wanted to build its subscriber base, it could partner with a larger video editing app and allow any of the subscribers to the larger app access to a lower fee for the smaller app. "It can be used for subscriptions from one developer or two different developers," Apple wrote, meaning companies could do this with their own apps — if a company owns a workout app and a meditation app, you could get a deal on one app if you've already signed up for the other — and also for competitors' apps. 

"If you’re interested in implementing contingent pricing in your app, you can start planning today and sign up to get notified when more details are available in January," Apple wrote.

So if, in a few weeks, you start seeing new deals, don't fret — you're just being sold to, but more intimately than before.

UPDATE: Dec. 18, 2023, 9:08 a.m. EST This story incorrectly stated that contingent pricing allows developers to compete with each other's pricing. The story has been updated to reflect that the program actually lets developers offer discounts on subscriptions only when both developers agree to do so.

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