On Wednesday, Apple announced a cut in commissions for app developers earning less than $1 million after deducting commissions from the current 30 percent to 15 percent, starting January 1, 2021. In this regard, Epic Games and many other developers who have been “whispering” Apple’s policy gave negative reviews the first time.
Tim Sweeney, chief executive of Epic Games, said it would be a cause for celebration if it weren’t for Apple’s planned division of app creators and its monopoly on stores and payments, while breaking its promise to treat all developers equally. Apple, which previously gave Amazon a special 15 per cent deal for the size giant, has now extended the policy to small developers, allowing the company to get rid of enough criticism while retaining most of the revenue from the 30 per cent pumping policy.
According to Senser Tower, the software industry is already a winner-take-all market, with Apple and Google’s top 1 percent of developers contributing 93 percent of sales in 2019.
Spotify, a well-known audio streaming company, called Apple’s new policy a “decorative window” and stressed that apple anti-competitive behavior was threatening developers of iOS platforms, a move that further illustrates the randomness and capriciousness of Apple’s App Store policies. It is hoped that regulators will ignore Apple’s decorations and take urgent action to protect consumer choice and ensure fair competition.
The App Equity Alliance, a group of app developers such as Epic Games and Spotify, is suing Apple over the policy, calling the company’s new move a “symbolic move.”
Andy Yen, founder and CEO of Encrypted Mail, said in an interview that Apple’s policy change was a positive one, but it looked more like an “understatement attempt to evade regulation.” More ironically, Apple, with a market capitalisation of $2 trillion, is saying to companies that earn $1m a year that “you’re making too much and you need to pay higher rates”.
In a report released in October, the U.S. House of Representatives Antitrust Committee said Apple had a “monopoly power” in the distribution of iPhone apps, but acknowledged that apple’s ecosystem benefits both consumers and developers. In response to the report, Apple said it did not have a dominant market share in all of its business areas.