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NYT Report on Apple’s New 15 Percent App Store Commission for Smaller Developers

Jack Nicas, reporting for The New York Times:

The move, which will have little impact on Apple’s bottom line, is an abrupt change from the company’s public intransigence over its fees. For 12 years, the App Store has helped fuel Apple’s remarkable growth, and the company has appeared reluctant to do anything to tamper with it.

What would make this change not “abrupt”? And I don’t think it’s fair at all to say Apple hasn’t changed its policies surrounding commissions in 12 years. The 85/15 split, for all developers, for subscriptions after the first year was a huge change.

The change will affect roughly 98 percent of the companies that pay Apple a commission, according to estimates from Sensor Tower, an app analytics firm. But those developers accounted for less than 5 percent of App Store revenues last year, Sensor Tower said. Apple said the new rate would affect the “vast majority” of its developers, but declined to offer specific numbers.

I don’t know how much we can trust Sensor Tower’s figures, but that sounds about right.

Apple said in a statement that it had made the change because 2020 was a difficult year for many small companies.

The publicity and regulatory scrutiny surrounding the App Store had nothing to do with it, I’m sure.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020