I’m sorry but you owe me 27% because I said so

This is a concept of user ownership that really rubs me the wrong way.
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Apple’s response to being required to allow developers to lever payment options apart from its in-house system is drawing a bevy of negative commentary from tech folks. And with good reason: Apple is offering little and demanding much, ensuring that it can continue to demand a massive cut of developer revenue.

Apple and Epic Games both appealed a lower-court ruling that largely sided with Apple but required that the technology giant allow developers to send their users to the web instead of keeping them inside of its App Store’s walls. When the Supreme Court declined to weigh in on the lower court ruling, the prior case stood, and Apple had to make it possible for developers to charge users apart from Cupertino’s existing systems.

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And oh boy did Apple not give much ground. The company still intends to demand “27% on proceeds you earn from sales (‘transactions’) to the user for digital goods or services on your website after a link out (i.e., they tap ‘Continue’ on the system disclosure sheet), provided that the sale was initiated within seven days and the digital goods or services can be used in an app.” In short, even if a user leaves Apple’s closed ecosystem and buys something from a service elsewhere that can be used in an app, the tech behemoth is expecting 27% of that money so long as the sale happens within a week.

The reduction in demands constitutes a full 3% reduction from its existing 30% fee charged to payments that occur inside of its App Store system. Simply put, Apple is trying to offer developers what it has to, but with enough costs attached to make it economically unpalatable. Eric Seufert of Heracles Capital, described Apple’s posture as “heads I win, tails you lose,” which feels pretty accurate.



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