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WWDC: Developers (again) rebel at App Store costs

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Apple has 23 million developers, but faces rebellion from some as it prepares to invite everyone to see the future of its platforms at WWDC.

So it goes

The rebellion isn’t about anything particularly new.

Apple polices its ecosystem, maintaining tight control over the apps made available to its users, and taking a relatively consistent 30% cut of revenue. The company doesn’t let apps direct users to their own payment systems.

Apple’s argument is that it provides the platform and curates the store. It can point to brick and mortar retailers and note that they also charge fees for brands that wish to sell through them. It can also point out that because it provides the entire ecosystem, including access to the customers, it has some right to charge for access to its systems.

Developers don’t always agree, and some want to offer their products via the App Store, but also want to avoid paying Apple for that access – even though it is Apple that built the audience and the development tools that make that possible.

They may have a point around the 30% App Store tax (the company keeps 30% of sales), but I don’t think they can realistically argue that Apple owes them free access to the audience it provides.

Compromise is everything

There are always some developers (including some big names) who want to argue that Apple’s platforms are some form of utility, and that as such it owes others easy access to those audiences.

That’s not the case.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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