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Apple begins the Great App Store cost negotiation

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Apple has begun the Great Negotiation for App Store commissions, providing a slight concession to developers seeking payment systems other than its own – but for now, only in the Netherlands — and only for dating apps.

We need to settle on a price

Apple has been told by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) that it must permit developers selling dating apps via its stores to offer consumers the chance to use third-party payment systems that are not run by Apple.

It is under pressure to do a similar thing elsewhere, including in South Korea. It is important to note that what Apple has proposed is only for dating apps in one nation, but it perhaps reflects where the company is putting its line in the sand as it negotiates app store commission rates with regulators everywhere.

Apple’s model for the Netherlands has now been made available. Under this model, Apple will discount its standard 30% commission by 3%. It means sales (of dating apps, referred to as apps from now on) made via the App Store must still pay 27% commission, with up to 3% available to secure third-party payment and billing systems.

An Apple support note states:

“To comply with an order from the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), Apple allows developers distributing dating apps on the Netherlands App Store to choose to do one of the following: 1) continue using Apple’s in-app purchase system, 2) use a third-party payment system within the app, or 3) include an in-app link directing users to the developer’s website to complete a purchase.”

App commissions beyond dating

It’s important to note that most developers don’t pay a 30% commission. The company sliced commissions to 15%  for developers who generate less than $1 million in sales in 2021 — and developers who don’t charge for their apps/services pay no commission at all. Apple also charges a reduced 15% for subscription commissions after the first year.

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