Dispute over commissions: Apple accommodates app providers

Status: 03.09.2021 12:56

Apple accommodates providers of media apps. In the future, they will be able to bypass commissions more easily. Critics, however, refer to the move as a PR show that should distract from another dispute.

By Marcus Schuler, ARD Studio Los Angeles

Providers of media apps – this means, for example, the services of Netflix, Spotify, but also newspaper publishers and e-book providers – are now allowed to set a link to their own payment pages within their apps. That was previously forbidden. The background is an agreement with the Japanese competition authority.

But is Apple really moving towards the developer community? Joanna Stern is a tech journalist for the Wall Street Journal. On the business broadcaster CNBC, she says: “This is a nice PR story for Apple. And of course the Japanese competition authority plays a role. Apple didn’t do that because it has such a good heart.” Now it is necessary to wait for the epic process, Stern continues. Then we will see what Apple is being forced to do and what they are doing voluntarily.

An apparently flimsy concession

Tech world and analysts agree: This new concession doesn’t really hurt Apple. Netflix and Spotify have long since done away with the option of taking out subscriptions for their services on iPhones or iPads. So you don’t have to pay a 30 percent commission. They would also play valuable customer data into the hands of Apple, which operates a music streaming service and a video-on-demand platform itself.

But the heaviest thing is that most of the money in its app store, probably more than 70 percent, is earned by Apple with game apps. And this new regulation does not apply to them. The company made nearly $ 78 billion in gaming apps last year.

CNBC’s Steve Kovac says Apple makes a big chunk of gaming. “That is why we attach such great importance to the court decision in the Epic process. We expect a verdict here shortly,” said Kovac. “Gaming apps are likely to hit Apple a lot harder than these media apps.”

Process of tech giants

The process at the District Court in Oakland, near San Francisco, between the game company Epic and Apple should therefore decide how things will continue with the app stores from Apple and competitor Google. Both corporations accuse developers, politicians and supervisory authorities of forming a duopoly. Together they control almost the entire app economy of Android and iOS.

The reactions to the current Apple decision are accordingly: Tim Sweeny, head of the game company Epic, said on Twitter that Apple recalculates divide-and-conquer every day. With this, the company believes it can navigate its way through its practices.

Print from multiple pages

Apple is also coming under pressure in the EU. The EU Commission accuses the group of unfair competition. In South Korea, an important Asian market for smartphone apps, the two big ships Apple and Google have already suffered a defeat this week. Parliament passed a law here so that app developers can also use other payment systems.

And from India it is reported that the competition watchdog there wants to initiate an investigation against the two companies because of the payment systems. Apple defends itself by saying that the app store is a lucrative platform for developers. At the same time, it protects users from attempted fraud because Apple maintains the app store editorially.

Zoff about app stores – the smoke candles from Apple

Marcus Schuler, ARD Los Angeles, currently San Francisco, September 3, 2021 11:04 am

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