Apple’s recent policy update has ignited a firestorm of criticism in the United States, as the tech giant introduces a 27% fee on all in-app purchases made through external platforms. While developers are now allowed to link to additional payment methods beyond Apple’s own, the company will still collect a 27% cut of all transactions (12% for small developers), deviating slightly from the customary 30% or 15% for smaller entities.
The move has not gone unnoticed, with digital music service app Spotify leading the charge against Apple’s new transaction fees. In a statement, Spotify labeled Apple’s actions as “outrageous” and accused the company of prioritizing its profits at the expense of developers and consumers within its app store monopoly.
“Once again, Apple has demonstrated that they will stop at nothing to protect the profits they exact on the backs of developers and consumers under their app store monopoly,” Spotify expressed in its strongly-worded statement.
While currently impacting App Store users in the US, concerns are rising that this fee adjustment may extend to the UK. Spotify, in its statement, has called upon the UK government to intervene, emphasizing the need for regulatory measures.
“The UK’s Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill must put an end to this false posturing, which is essentially a recreation of Apple’s fees. We strongly urge UK lawmakers to pass the bill swiftly to prevent Apple from implementing similar fees, which will help create a more competitive and innovative tech industry for UK consumers and businesses,” Spotify urged.
Epic Games, the developer behind Fortnite, also joined the chorus of disapproval. Epic Games’ CEO, Tim Sweeney, denounced Apple’s 27% fees on external payments, characterizing the changes as a “bad faith ‘compliance'” of a court order and branding it as an “anticompetitive” new tax. Sweeney declared that Epic Games intends to contest the matter in court.
Furthermore, Sweeney criticized Apple’s disclaimer for users opting for an external payment option, describing it as a “scare screen.” Users choosing an external payment method are presented with a message cautioning them about leaving the app and going to an external website, with Apple disclaiming responsibility for the privacy and security of purchases made on the web.
Noteworthy is the fact that Apple implemented these fees in the US following a protracted legal battle with Fortnite developer Epic Games. As the controversy continues to unfold, developers and industry observers eagerly await further developments and potential regulatory actions in response to Apple’s latest policy adjustment.