Apple Inc. is changing the pricing structure for the App Store to let developers charge a wider range of amounts, the latest effort to offer more flexibility and stave off criticism of the platform.

Prices can now start at just 29 cents -compared with a previous floor of 49 cents for subscriptions and 99 cents for apps- and range up to $10,000, the company said Tuesday. The highest price level had been $999.99. Developers also will have new options for setting prices across different countries and currencies.

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The move is a major shake-up for the App Store, which Apple launched in 2008 with an emphasis on simplicity. The platform has faced greater criticism in recent years, with developers and regulators complaining that the company’s rules are too restrictive. Apple’s commission of as much as 30 per cent on app purchases also has drawn outcry, including from Elon Musk

Apple settled a $100 million class action lawsuit with small developers in the US last year, and adding additional price points was part of the agreement. At the time, the company also made changes to App Store search and made it easier for developers to appeal app rejections.

Spurring changes

But looming legislation could spur further changes by forcing Apple to allow apps to be side-loaded - or installed without the use of the App Store - on the company’s devices. The new options and tools could help keep the App Store an appealing venue for developers even if they have other options. Apple generated more than $78 billion in the past fiscal year from services, including the App Store.

In a statement, the company highlighted that the “App Store’s commerce and payments system offers developers an ever-expanding set of capabilities and tools to grow their businesses, from frictionless checkout and transparent invoicing for users to robust marketing tools, tax and fraud services, and refund management.” 

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There are 700 new price points in all, though the 100 highest levels will require approval from Apple. The new structure kicks in immediately for automatically renewed subscriptions and will expand to standard apps and in-app purchases next spring. The company is adding rounded pricing as well, so an app could cost $1 or $10 instead of $0.99 or $9.99.

The iPhonemaker will also allow developers to keep prices constant in the currency of their choice, even as rates fluctuate.

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