Apple facing more app store scrutiny - Mobile World Live

Apple facing more app store scrutiny

21 AUG 2020

News publishers pushed Apple to provide more favourable terms on commissions it makes through subscriptions on its App Store, cranking up the pressure on the iPhone maker just days after it was hit with a lawsuit by Fortnite maker Epic Games.

The Digital Context Next (DCN) body, which represents major US publishers The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, among others, published a letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook on its website, taking aim at the company’s “non-negotiable terms” for App Store purchases.

Their complaint comes after Epic Games filed an injunction against Apple in an attempt to block the termination of its developer accounts, as pair’s relationship disintegrated after the game maker criticised Apple’s policies.

Other major companies including Spotify and Telegram have also hit out at app store policies, while Tim Cook was recently grilled by US politicians as part of a congressional hearing over the conduct of dominant tech players.

Amazon terms
In the letter, DCN CEO Jason Kint said Apple charges 30 per cent commission on purchases, which “reduces earnings potential for app developers while also driving up prices for consumers”.

He noted despite the terms apparently being non-negotiable, Apple struck a deal with Amazon in 2017 making its Prime Video service available on Apple TV. Through this, Apple said it would reduce its fee for consumers who subscribed to the service from 30 per cent to 15 per cent.

Details of the Amazon deal were made public at the recent US congressional hearing, in which Cook said the terms offered to Amazon were available to anyone meeting the conditions.

In the letter, Kint pushed for similar terms for news publishers and called on Cook to “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”.

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Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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