NEW DELHI: Apple’s App store fee for all in-app purchases, which many developers feel is too high, has now got leading media publishers seeking a cut in the charges to 15% from the customary 30%.
In an open letter to Tim Cook, CEO Apple, Digital Content Next (DCN), a trade organisation which represents over 75 news and media companies such as New York Times, Washington Post and CBS, have asked Apple to clearly define the conditions that can make a developer eligible for a lower App Store fee of 15% which currently applies on Amazon apps.
During the July 29 hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Cook acknowledged that Apple charged Amazon 15% App store fee on subscriptions through the app, even though Apple maintains all apps are treated equally.
Cook said the special arrangement being offered to Amazon is available to any app developers that meet the conditions required for it.
DCN has asked Cook to provide more details on the conditions that made Amazon eligible for a lower fee, so they can also take advantage of it.
“Nearly all of DCN members offer apps in the Apple App Store and, as noted above, many offer subscription-based access to a wide variety of content. The terms of Apple’s unique marketplace greatly impact the ability to continue to invest in high-quality, trusted news and entertainment particularly in competition with other larger firms,” Jason Kint, CEO, Digital Content Next said in the letter to Cook.
“In keeping with your statement to the Committee, I ask that you clearly define the conditions that Amazon satisfied for its arrangement so that DCN’s member companies meeting those conditions can be offered the same agreement.”
Apple’s policy requires apps to use its App store payment system for subscriptions and then charges 30% fees on it. Developers who have tried to bypass it by offering subscriptions through their website and not the App store have been delisted. A case in point is the Hey email reader app which was removed in June for redirecting users for payment to their website. The app was later reinstated after the app included a free version of the app on the store.
Several companies and developers including Spotify and Epic Games have challenged the 30% store fee as it cuts into their revenue and reduces the possibility of offering more attractive subscription plans to consumers.
Spotify claims, this gives Apple’s own products like the Apple Music an edge over their rival music apps. Last week, online multiplayer game Fortnite was taken down from the App Store after their publisher Epic Games decided to bypass App Store payment and allow its users to pay directly through their website.
The app was also taken down from Google Play Store too for the same reason. Google also charges 30% fee for initial purchase as well as in-app purchases from apps listed on their store.
Epic Games on its part has filed two separate lawsuits against both Apple and Google in US courts, while arguing that the fees charged by them are exorbitant and result in an unlawful monopoly that Apple and Google enjoy.