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Apple to Reduce App Store Commissions for Small Businesses in 2021

michaeltharrington profile image Michael Tharrington (he/him) ・1 min read

A friend pointed me to this tweet earlier today:

Seems like great news for small independent app developers as their commission paid to Apple will be cut in half! That said, many claim this is just a gesture by Apple to appease critics.

As reported on The Verge, Epic and Spotify have released statements describing the move as "calculated", "divisive", "arbitrary", and "capricious".

Creator of Ruby on Rails, DHH commented:

So, what do you all think about this news? Are these cuts going to benefit you? How do you feel about the criticism?

Discussion

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theklr profile image
Kevin R

While I'm happy as a developer that this provides more opportunities in revenue. I am appalled in DHH, Epic and the like who will use this as ammunition for public narrative. I understand their reasoning as well in wanting a fairer cut, but being multi-hyphenate entrepreneurs that have already made their Ms (off of Apples Codebase and consumer market), it's seems just as bad as Apple. I hope eventually we stop getting these flashy articles featuring them "fighting the good fight" and nuanced articles of the majority of developers under the constraints of the ecosystem. It's really hard to see multi-millionaires a fight trillion-dollar corporation, when your nowhere in their stratosphere.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard 🇫🇷🇩🇪🇬🇧🇪🇸🇨🇴

The reverse pretty much is true. Apple made much much more than millions off the work of DHH and the thousands of developers whose services are what make Apple's hardware valuable.

Now the issue at hand is that a significant part of this huge profit comes from monopoly power which is bad for the economy as any standard book will tell you.

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theklr profile image
Kevin R

I agree with the first but not the later statement. Apple isn't a monopoly, in the legal space... do we need a modernization of what constitutes monopolies? Definitely. All of these large complaints came from their ability to develop within Apple's ecosystem, and sure they may have made them money, but they're not sole contributors to moving Apple's hardware. No one is buying Apple Products for them and them alone. Apple is following just like the rest of them being a business that protect the interest of their shareholders. Apple provides the code, hardware and security that they don't have to worry about. Does it merit 30%? I'm not one to say, but I'm also not competing on platform that I don't agree with.
Besides... I really think unionization could fix this mess, but that's something most of these people don't want to hear. For some odd reason, collective bargaining scares these people.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard 🇫🇷🇩🇪🇬🇧🇪🇸🇨🇴

Does it merit 30%? I'm not one to say

The free market is the one supposed to answer this question. But free markets only exists if the regulators intervene to dismantle monopoly powers. There is this misconception that because Android exists, iOS is not a monopoly. But that's not true, the same economic logic and the same rules apply if there is a duopoly. Take only the grip that Apple has on safari/iOS. This alone is worse than what Microsoft did with internet explorer.

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theklr profile image
Kevin R

But 30% is the margin, that's why it was dismissed in the first case. That's where I don't agree with these larger companies. The starting dev? Fine, but the last time I check Spotify, Bascamp/DHH, and Epic are doing fine with Sony and Playstation's margins, Nintendo, and Xbox's respectively which also take their 30%. If it was across the board? Fair, but singling out Apple like they're special in doing this is not great legal standing.
At least lobby some [insert legal representatives] and fix the laws in your favor first.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard 🇫🇷🇩🇪🇬🇧🇪🇸🇨🇴

Look, it's simple: I trust Apple and Google to self-regulate the use of their monopoly power about exactly as much as people trusted Microsoft, AT&T, Standard Oil, Western Union, ... to do so in the past.

Monopolies are bad, it's such a simple insight of economic history, why the hell did we stop applying antitrust regulations?

Recommended book: The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets by Thomas Philippon

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

It's a shame that this has to be dealt with so much in the court of public opinion and not, like, the court of law.

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jmfayard profile image
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vincenzofehring profile image
Vincenzo Fehring

Let's not forget that Epic is currently running a rallying cry against Apple and Google for removing Fortnite from their platforms. It was due to a blatant violation of developer guidelines. They are supposed to utilize the in-app purchase SDKs provided by the platforms for anything done in their application. They decided to circumvent that, and as a result, get their application banned from the app stores.

As an independent developer, I am thankful for the cut in commissions, but I can also agree that the 30% was still not enough for all that they are providing me as a developer.

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Jordan Kicklighter

Just for clarity: it is not that Epic circumvented the in-app purchase requirement, it is that Epic directly linked to an external location and provided a discount as incentive for buying credits outside of the app. Apps are able to use virtual currency purchased elsewhere, but there can be no mention in the app of the external site used to purchase that currency.

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codefinity profile image
Manav Misra

There's always criticism from those that think 🧠 all the things should be given away. Any concession from Apple is not something they in any way shape or form don't have to do and those of us that were not as brilliant/fortunate as Apple should just take whatever we get and be gracious about it.