You pay for your account on Spotify's own web site, which bypasses Apple getting any cut at all.
Netflix has done the same thing.
In my book, the problem is that you are not allowed to provide a link to your payment website inside your app.
This is especially damaging to small companies. Most people have heard of Spotify, Netflix, Pandora, etc. So it's somewhat natural for them (if not a bit akward) to go to the website if they can't get premium in the app.
But for small companies that connection isn't immediately obvious. In my company for instance, we aren't allowed to put ANY reference to our website in the app (as it relates to purchasing premium). As a result when a user signs up, my only option is IAP. I cannot just assume they will naturally go to the website.
So you couldn't even get to the point where you can send an email without first falling in line with IAP.
And according to my understanding of the Spotify timeline, and I haven't see this because I haven't published to the platform in a while, Apple now prohibits you from targeting your iOS users with upgrade communications (even if they didn't sign up via iOS, which they didn't since that's prohibited).
(An "email me a payment link" button would almost certainly get rejected by Apple)
It could even be 2 digits (the same 2 digits for everyone), you’re just looking to get their eyes on the email letting them know additional paid subscriptions are available on your website.
I think you'd end up confusing users. Most people will go to their email expecting to see a verification code in big bold type. If you make the code less obvious, they'll get frustrated ("I came here to get a code, why am I now doing something else?") It's awful UX at a particularly business-critical moment.
And this is all assuming Apple doesn't see through your ploy and just reject the app.
Deezer music went another route: you can pay for your subscription through an iOS device, but you'll pay a higher price.  I'm surprised Apple permit this.
All this strikes me as a clear indication that Apple is asking for too high a cut.
I've never been tempted to use a mobile app to shop on, say, Amazon, but Apple are clearly ok with that experience being far better on Android than on iPhone.
> In my book, the problem is that you are not allowed to provide a link to your payment website inside your app.
The exact words used by the Audible app for iPhone: This app does not support purchasing content. Instead, add to your wishlist.
This is what Spotify used to do (charging $13 instead of the normal $10 to give apple their cut), but they stopped when apple started making apple music available at $10 (since they didn't need to pay their own tax)
You simply can't ignore iOS if you want to have a successful smartphone app business. That fact alone is enough in my opinion to consider Apple a monopoly and to take action to force them to play fair on their own platform.
Abusing market dominance in one sector in order to shut out or outcompete other providers in another sector is the classic justification for antitrust action.
I honestly never really thought about why this is - I simply just hated Audible for it, and thought it was the most annoying part of their app.
However, it's odd - how come the Amazon app is allowed to get away with its own purchasing system?
I believe jordanthoms's explanation is correct.
Why on earth is Apple allowed to do that? I get that it is their marketplace and their rules, but they are directly hurting competition and consumers this way. There's simply no real argument to prohibit developers like this. Seems like something the EU should combat against.
I think something like 30% on the first purchase and then 5-6% for any recurring purchases would make more sense. I know it changes to 15% after a year but that's still ridiculous IMO.
Maybe there's an App Association that challenges all of these stores on their rather high recurring fees.
I'm not particularly scared of paying for things online. I'm scared of almost anyone else in my extended family doing so, though. If you think that concern's "ridiculous" you haven't watched them use the Web. And lots of them—especially the older ones—have (rightly!) never entirely gotten over fear of buying things online. Some(!) of them do buy things online, but reluctantly, with great deliberation. In an app on an Apple device? Concerns gone. Even for me, that little background stress of being on alert for shenanigans quiets down when I'm in the Apple ecosystem. Far lower (though non-zero—there's a reason I do almost no iOS gaming) permitted rates of douchebaggery is one of the things keeping me on iOS, and the one-source-of-payments is a vital part of that.
[EDIT] there are further benefits to users and developers alike, I should add, when the UI for a purchase is the same in every app. It's worth 30% to "defect" from that, so worth it on the individual level, but if it's permitted at all then the game's up and everyone loses.
Strawman. That's not at all what the parent said.
> For instance, if the app asks you for payment, you could be first shown its rating in the store, if it's low. There could be even a separate rating judging the payment security of the app, if security is what Apple is after.
You think people should be shown a payment security score so they can judge whether they want to make an in-app purchase? You must be joking. I don't think you understand what Apple is after if that's your suggestion.
> You're allowing Apple to rip you off by 30% on all app transactions, it's as simple as that.
Your entire comment reeks of irrational anti Apple bias. It's as simple as that.
This is why geeks make horrible product people.
And ratings have never been faked....
I think it's perfectly reasonable for governments to update their terms and agreements.
The counter point is, if Apple allowed this, then every single App would use that method. Most people would not realize or care that they bought the XYZ in a web view vs through the AppStore payment system. Even apps that are currently paid only would switch to a "free" app with a "pay here" in-app purchase.
At this point the AppStore no longer can bring in any money for Apple except indirectly via encouraging iPhone sales.
Maybe Apple could charge the publisher for each app download or something instead to keep making money but I doubt that would be very popular.