The matter of Apple's App Store and the way it runs it has long been a bone of contention for people, especially developers who sell their wares in it. Apple takes a 30% cut from all transactions handled via the App Store and doesn't allow apps to include a third-party payment system, either. But following the news that Apple is now going to at least allow apps to link out to third-party websites to process payments, it was hoped that there was going to be a new way for developers to accept money from their customers. And there will be, but it turns out that Apple will still want to take a 27% cut of all the money that hands after leaving an iPhone app. And developers aren't happy.
As is so often the case, Spotify is among the most vocal about the situation and it's been having its say in comments sent to various outlets. In them, Spotify dubs Apple's plans to take 27% from developers as "outrageous" before urging lawmakers to take Apple to task.
“Once again, Apple has demonstrated that they will stop at nothing to protect the profits they exact on the backs of developers and consumers under their app store monopoly," the statement begins. And it goes on to suggest that the route Apple is going to take is prohibited under the European Union's Digital Markets Act. As such, it could be illegal in the EU which will in turn force Apple to have a rethink.
Urging swift action
In a statement to the BBC, Spotify argued that it's now down to the UK to use its powers to put an end to Apple's "false posturing."
"The UK's Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumer Bill must put an end to this false posturing, which is essentially a recreation of Apple's fees," the statement reads. It went on to add "We strongly urge UK lawmakers to pass the bill swiftly to prevent Apple from implementing similar fees, which will help create a more competitive and innovative tech industry for UK consumers and businesses."
This closely follows a similar release sent to U.S. outlets like 9to5Mac which hinted that it's the EU that should be sorting things out.
"We strongly urge the European Commission to act swiftly and decisively to prevent Apple from implementing similar fees, which are prohibited under the DMA,” Spotify explained. And it's that final part that could prove important here. If the EU does find that Apple's 27% cut goes against its rules, things could be about to get even more complicated.
An Epic battle
This all comes after Apple lost its Supreme Court appeal in the years-long legal spat with Epic Games. As a result, Apple was told that it would be forced to allow app developers to link to external payment systems.
Apple is of course complying, but the 27% commission is something that some argue makes a mockery of the move. Developers are marginally better off as a result of the change, but some will argue that Apple shouldn't be taking a cut of payments that it isn't processing. It's worth noting that those on the Small Business Program will only pay 12% to Apple, down from the 15% that Apple takes for transactions processed via the App Store.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.