Apple lowers App Store commission for small developers

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Apple has announced that it will reduce commission in the App Store for developers that earn less than a million dollars a year. For such apps, the commission will decrease from 30 to 15 percent.

App Store Small Business Program

The announcement is part of Apple’s ‘App Store Small Business Program’, a program for developers that earn less than a million dollars (€845,000) a year. Apple claims that this benefits the vast majority of developers.

If in the course of a year, a developer’s income exceeds 1 million dollars, the commission increased from 15 to 30 percent for the rest of the year. If a developer earns less than 1 million during one year, they can sign up to join the program next year.

Coalition for App Fairness

The decision follows a battle that erupted this year between Apple and several developers who produce apps on the platform. This so-called Coalition for App Fairness, led by Epic Games and supported, among others, by Spotify, complains that the 30 percent that Apple asks for apps published in the App Store is unfair. Since apps for iPhones and iPads can only be installed via the App Store, Apple is said to have a monopoly position, all the more so because the company strictly prohibits alternative payment methods within the apps themselves.

Symbolic gesture

The Coalition for App Fairness is not satisfied with the new announcement. The members call it no more than a symbolic gesture, The Verge writes. They complain that developers are still forced to use Apple’s payment system and that the 1 million dollar limit is arbitrary. According to the Coalition, the problem is not necessarily in the commission itself, but in the fact that there is no alternative to the app store. Developers who want to develop an app for the second-largest mobile platform in the world have to accept all of Apple’s terms and conditions.

The new reduced commission rules will apply starting 1 January 2021.