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Levies as a point of contention: Dispute over Apple’s app store rules before WWDC | developer conference message


The iPhone company banned the application with the paid service from its download platform because it does not offer the option of subscribing directly to the app.

Apple charges a 30 percent commission if apps or digital services are sold on the group’s platform. With longer-running subscriptions, the proportion drops to 15 percent. At the same time, some providers such as Netflix set themselves up so that they sell the subscriptions on their own website – and the users then only have to log in to the app on the Apple device. In this case, there is no charge to Apple.

The developer Basecamp also wanted to use this model with its “Hey” app. Apple initially released the application to the App Store. However, an update said a few days later that the app violated the rules of the platform. Apple argues, among other things, that the Netflix exception only applies to so-called reader apps with content such as music, video and e-books. “There was never an exception to the rules for email,” chief marketing officer Phil Schiller told the tech blog “TechCrunch” on Friday.

According to the current rules, Basecamp would also have to offer users the option of offering the subscription, which is priced from $ 99 per year, directly for purchase in the app. Unlike on the website, these purchases would have to be paid to Apple. Basecamp could then sell the subscription in the app more expensive than on the web to compensate for this. Another option would be to offer a free basic functionality in the app – and the payment upgrade on your own website. Basecamp’s chief of technology, David Heinemeier Hansson, was adamant, telling Apple in a tweet that he was a “gangster” and stressing that his company would refuse to pay the “ransom”.

The controversy aroused in the week in which the EU Commission launched an investigation against Apple over the app store rules. It goes back to a complaint from the music service Spotify. The music streaming market leader criticizes the fact that the levy of 15 to 30 percent on subscription revenue puts him at a disadvantage because Apple, as the platform operator, receives all the revenue from its competing service Apple Music.

/ so / DP / fba


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