Apple cuts iOS App Store fees to 15% for small developers (so not for Epic Games)

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.

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Catchy…

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

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7 Comments

  1. So, basically, they admit they’re thieves, and are desperately looking for ways not to end up as most hated company on earth.
    It’s of course a step in the right direction, but a tiny one and nowhere nearly sufficient. But, hey, who would’ve thought, even non innovative Apple can (be made to) move..!

    • They’ve admitted nothing of the sort.

      • It’s called ‘implicitly’…

      • Not even implicitly. You could say that they’re reacting to a perception of being unfriendly to developers, but the way this works is the equivalent to a stimulus plan or tax breaks.

  2. I wonder if any of the big publishers will be able to swindle it so they’re still eligible for the lower fee, like all the big corporations do to pay less tax?!

    • This is on revenue and not profit like tax is levied on, so should be harder to get around, although I suppose some medium sized developers with multiple apps might save by spinning off as a separate developer per app?

  3. Haha brilliant

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