Apple Faces New EU Antitrust Complaint Over 30% App Store Commission Rate

Jun 16, 2020 2:38 am PDT by Tim Hardwick

Apple is facing another European antitrust complaint, this time over its 30 percent cut on ebooks in the App Store. The complaint was made to the European Commission by Rakuten's Kobo subsidiary, which alleges that Apple's commission rate is anti-competitive when it also promotes its own Apple Books service.


According to a Financial Times report, Kobo argues that having to pay Apple 30 percent commission on each ebook that it sells through the ‌App Store‌ via the Kobo app makes it next to impossible to turn a profit, whereas Apple's own Bookstore means it doesn't have to take an equivalent revenue cut.

The complaint is similar to one that Spotify filed with the EC in March 2019. Spotify specifically took issue with Apple's 30 percent fee collected on ‌‌App Store‌‌ purchases, which has forced Spotify to charge subscribers through the ‌‌App Store‌‌ $12.99 per month for its Premium plan instead of the $9.99 per month fee it normally collects.

Spotify argued that the iPhone maker enforced ‌‌App Store‌‌ rules that "purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience."

Apple swiftly hit back at the accusation, labeling it as "misleading rhetoric" and arguing that "Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app without being free." Spotify's antitrust complaint is still under investigation.

The EU can force companies to change business practices they deem unlawful and levy fines of up to 10 per cent of a company's global turnover. However, investigations by the European Commission can take years to resolve unless the companies involved offer to settle the probes by making legally binding agreements to change their behavior.


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17 months ago
I want to sell my stuff in your store without paying rent.
Score: 20 Votes
17 months ago

30% is too much, but they are providing much more than “basic payment management”.

AppStore curation and running it isn’t free and neither is the R&D for all the developer tooling (which Apple of course needs internally but requirements for internal and external tooling are quite a bit different).
App Store curation sucks. There's nothing I've found in the App Store that I didn't find elsewhere first.

Curators let through numerous scam apps, numerous apps that are straight knockoffs of existing apps with names changed, apps with malware… but if you used a round rect icon that looked like an iPhone for one of your buttons they'll make sure to reject your app lest your violate their trademark iPhone shape (which could be any round rect).

The App Store really is basic payment management with extras I don't want or need. For a 30% cut, devs can't even refund their users. And building for the app store after distributing direct is stage 4 CANCER and sucks the fun out of dev life.

Don't even get me started on the utterly retarded certificate management, which every dev loses hours on at least once a year (before they give in and wipe and re-roll everything because Apple's cert management doesn't work correctly 10 years in).
Rating: 16 Votes
17 months ago
The 30% cut is way too high. PERIOD.
Rating: 15 Votes
17 months ago

Good, topple that monopoly, where Apple gets a 30% cut for providing nothing other than basic payment management (compared to apps that are generally free) for the sale of services it does not render.
Or, if trying to be consistent, charge Amazon 30% for material goods sold through their app as well.
They are consistent.

They take their cut only for digital goods, not physical goods.

30% is too much, but they are providing much more than “basic payment management”.

AppStore curation and running it isn’t free and neither is the R&D for all the developer tooling (which Apple of course needs internally but requirements for internal and external tooling are quite a bit different).

With Android it’s possible to sideload.

Care to mention any sideloading success stories?
Rating: 13 Votes
17 months ago
Good, topple that monopoly, where Apple gets a 30% cut for providing nothing other than basic payment management (compared to apps that are generally free) for the sale of services it does not render.
Or, if trying to be consistent, charge Amazon 30% for material goods sold through their app as well.
Rating: 10 Votes
17 months ago

I want to sell my stuff in your store without paying rent.
You mean:

„I have no choice put to give you 30% because if I don’t, you won’t let me sell my stuff in the only store. Also, feel free to change the rules any time you see fit and kill my entire business while you’re at it.”

If there were an option to sell apps, and content through those apps, without having to go the Apple, them you’re have a point, but both Apple and Google basically have a duopoly stranglehold and that’s just not healthy.

Imagine there were only two companies in control of all the supermarkets. Then imagine you produced groceries and had to pay 30% to be even able to sell your groceries? You’d be cool with that? Almost sounds like a protection racket to be honest.
Rating: 9 Votes

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