Apple have announced a major change for the iOS App Store that is intended to help the vast majority of developers on their platform. Starting on 1st January 2021, the tech giant will drop their fees from 30% to 15% for qualifying developers who make less than $1 million in annual sales.
This is a new initiative called the App Store Small Business Program.
To qualify for the program, developers will have to go through a process to apply where other eligibility requirements and deadlines will potentially come into effect. Devs will not be enrolled automatically, and this doesn’t seem to be a tiered system, so if they go over $1 million in revenue in the calendar year, they’ll then be subject for the full 30% rate.
It’s clear that this is really targeted at the lower end of the App Store, but it’s sure to apply to the vast majority of developers and apps on the platform. Hopefully this will help smaller developers during a tricky period of time for many, though it feels like PR outreach from Apple in some ways, who have had a number of awkward PR standoffs with developers and apps in the past year.
The App Store Small Business Program comes to the backdrop of antitrust investigations, blocking Google Stadia and Xbox Game Pass Streaming from the platform, and the court battle with Epic Games over Fortnite. They decided to shoot themselves in the foot in a glitzy PR stunt by breaking the terms of the developer agreement and circumventing the standard payment structure in Fortnite, so that they could claim Apple was being anticompetitive.
That lawsuit continues to rumble on, with various pre-trial arguments on both sides being thrown out by the courts. It’s also not really clear if Epic would settle for a reduced 15% rate from Apple, or if they will see their attempt to set up a separate pay structure and mobile app store through to the bitter end. Epic have chosen to keep Fortnite locked from the iOS App Store during the trial by refusing to remove their custom pay options from the app.
via The Verge