From The Wall Street Journal:
Apple Inc. is halving the commission it charges smaller developers that sell software through its App Store, a partial concession in its battle with critics over how it wields power in its digital ecosystem.
The iPhone maker said that starting next year it will collect 15% rather than 30% of App Store sales from companies that generate no more than $1 million in revenue through the software platform, including in-app purchases. The fee will remain 30% for developers whose sales through the App Store, excluding commission payments, exceed $1 million—meaning the reduction won’t affect such vocal Apple opponents as videogame company Epic Games Inc.
Apple’s 30% take has been at the heart of complaints this year from other tech companies and some users over how it manages the vast digital world of people who use iPhones, iPads and other Apple devices. The policy is also central to a major legal battle with Epic, and to government examinations in the U.S. and Europe of Apple’s competitive behavior as a gatekeeper between software makers and the hundreds of millions of people who use Apple’s gadgets.
Critics have charged that Apple’s commission is too large, is unfairly levied against different companies, leaves customers footing the bill and leads to workarounds by some developers to avoid the fees.
. . . .
A tiny fraction of developers account for the vast majority of sales in the App Store, which is central to a services unit that brought Apple $53.77 billion in revenue in its latest fiscal year. Research firm Sensor Tower estimates that only about 0.2% of the 1.8 million apps in the App Store generated more than $1 million last year, and says that group accounted for an estimated 92% of Apple’s App Store revenue.
The fee cut, therefore, gives Apple ammunition to rebut claims that its practices hurt smaller developers, while leaving untouched the vast bulk of its App Store revenue.
Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (PG apologizes for the paywall, but hasn’t figured out a way around it.)
PG was interested in this article because apps and ebooks are really quite similar to each other (although a dropsy epidemic would rage through New York publishing if such a statement were to be uttered within hearing range.)
Apps are electronic code and ebooks are electronic code as well. Apps run on tablets, smartphones, etc., and ebooks “run” on the same devices. Ebook readers don’t use their thumbs as actively as people who play app games on their phones, but, fundamentally, both purchase software for their electronic devices.
Apps and ebooks are sold online through digital storefronts in exactly the same manner.
Unlike app developers, when it comes to royalties, more than a few authors may analogize the sales of ebooks to the sales of printed books with printing costs, shipping fees, physical stores, warehouses full of books, etc., etc.
From the point of view of those who are running ecommerce at Amazon and Apple, ebooks and apps are just two different file formats.
It would be interesting if the people running iBooks caught the spirit of their much larger and more profitable contemporaries in the App department and decided that indie authors are pretty much like small app developers and should be paid 85% of the purchase price of ebooks instead of a much small percentage.
On more than one occasion, PG has been accused of being an Amazon shill because he likes the way Amazon treats indie authors and says so.
However, PG thinks it would be a great idea if Amazon treated indie authors like Apple treats small indie app developers and reduced Amazon’s take on KDP indie ebooks so authors received 85% of the proceeds Amazon collected for their books. (Amazon could also get rid of its ridiculous “Delivery Cost for a Digital Book” charge at the same time.)