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Apple Tweaks App Store Rules To Give Some Developers A Bigger Cut

June 8, 2016, 6:49 PM UTC
Apple's I Phone 6S : Launch at Apple Opera Store In Paris
PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 25: A customer checks the new iPhone 6s displayed at the Apple Store Opera on September 25, 2015 in Paris, France. Apple launched the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus with more shortcuts and bigger screen than the iPhone 6. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)
Photograph by Chesnot — Getty Images

Apple plans to change the rules for its massive online app store to help app developers make more money, including paying them a bigger cut of sales in some cases.

Apple will start allow any kind of app to be sold through recurring subscriptions instead of a one-time fee or in-app purchases, Phil Schiller, senior vice president for marketing who oversees much of the app store, said in an interview with TheVerge that was published on Wednesday. And for apps sold by subscription, Apple will only take 15% of the fees, half its usual cut, after the first year, Schiller said.

“We recognize that developers do a lot of work to retain a customer over time in a subscription model and we wanted to reward them for that by helping them to keep more of the revenue,” Schiller told the web site.

Apple’s app store generates billions in sales and profits, as the more than 1 billion owners of Apple devices use it to buy new games, productivity tools, and other programs. Developers, who typically keep 70% of the sales from their apps after Apple’s cut, have made over $40 billion since 2008, Apple has said.

But as the app store has become crowded with more than 1 millions different apps, developers have complained that it is becoming tough to make enough money to support their work. The new subscription rules and a few other changes should help improve the situation, but fall short of some of the policies developers have sought, like the ability to charge for app upgrades or grant free, limited-time trials.

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Among other moves Schiller revealed, Apple (AAPL) will also let developers pay to be included in search results in the app store, similar to the way search engines like Google (GOOGL) also accept paid advertising that appears next to the results. That could help developers get noticed more when they introduce a new app, which might otherwise be buried in search results below more popular, older apps.

And the app store has also speeded up its review process that delays new apps from appearing in the store, Schiller told The Verge. Half of all apps are now reviewed within 24 hours and 90% within 48 hours, he said.