Uh, I seem to recall Apple being forced to reverse some brazenly greedy policies for their music service when a high-profile artist called them out and withheld content in protest. For Apple to characterize itself as a champion of exploited artists is pretty disingenuous.
Moreover, that's the pot calling the kettle black. That's the app store in a nutshell -- Apple supplies the marketplace, but is also making a substantial chunk of money off of others’ work.
> Spotify’s aim is to make more money off others’ work.
And Apple's aim is to make more money off that more money. It's such an obviously, laughably stupid argument they're doing there.
Although growing on the pie seems a more apt metaphor. Defending 15% fees on second-year subscription is pretty difficult. There's no marketing, very little fraud risk. It's really rent-seeking behaviour – which of course is the commercial point of the walled garden approach.
This is Apple exploiting a very lucrative market position, one that they did invest quite a lot of money in – and took quite a gamble – to create.
What's wrong with that?
It looks like Google Play (Google Music?) still wins for compensating artists the most so it's nice to see my choice still holds up over time.
To save people the click:
* Google Play $0.0068
* iTunes $0.0060
* Spotify $0.0044
But, if I have an iPhone, the only application store I can use is controlled by Apple.
In other words: if I am an artist and I want to offer my music via streaming I have plenty of options. If one of them does have a deal that I find unfair, I can choose others.
If I am a developer and I want to offer my app to iPhone users, I have only one option. And if I am banned from this store for any policy infringement (which sometimes is ridiculous and totally arbitrary) I have no other option to offer my app to iPhone users.
I agree with Android it's slightly different because side loading is at least possible, but I doubt many people are going to find your widget if it's not on the play store.
Actually, the "Walmart is a choice" claim also only holds up if there actually are multiple stores nearby, because who is going to drive fifty miles to the next store? Food deserts are a thing.
This is a false idea of "choice" and it is just yet another way producers and sellers try to shift responsibility to the end consumer who is largely powerless in most cases.
On Android you can side-load APKs, have alternative app stores like F-Droid and even install custom operating systems. So no, that is again not comparable.
> It’s (…) not some perfidious Apple plot
> just the nature of the market
Dammit, NO. The market is a human-made artificial construct, not some natural freaking law like gravity that is inevitable and unavoidable. And given that it is human-made we can change it, and make choices on what we demand from it.
And I wouldn't have a problem with that in general, except it feels dirty to claim Apple are saints for graciously allowing apps like spotify to be sold on their platform. They're already being paid for doing so through phone sales. Leveraging the monopoly they hold over the ios app store against Spotify, one of their competitors, is exactly what antitrust legislation is designed to prevent.
For example, Google banning their apps on Windows Mobile and Amazon Firestore. Google blocking Windows Phone users from accessing maps/mail via a user-agent check. That and Google actively blocking Microsoft developing a native Youtube app.
Is it any surprise that customers were unsatisfied?
Google is rightfully scolded for requiring that users sign away their information and following their every move (often using dark patterns).
Apple should be put on hot coals too for how they are abusing their position. Spotify is an excellent illustration because Apple is both the platform and a competitor. I don't understand why an Apple consumer would support their anticompetitive stance.
It's much better than Android even without that though. Especially since Google became more aggressive with tricking users to sign away their privacy.
You're not forced to have an iPhone.
Whether what Apple is doing is legal or not I guess the courts will decide. But it's certainly factually incorrect to imply that you're not free to buy from anywhere else.
I really don't see this being that much different from the famous United States v. Microsoft Corp. case.
EDIT: comments have made clear that Windows had a monopoly on the personal computer space, whereas Apple doesn't have a monopoly on the smartphone or tablet space.
I'm not saying Apple is right to do this. I'm saying the monopoly on their own product is not the correct argument. Apple is not a monopoly. If they lose this case it won't be based on this.
* Contractually barring licensees from offering competing OSes, or selling boxes without Windows installed.
* Leveraging their OS dominance to get dominance in other markets such as linking OS licensing with licenses for other software.
* Pinching competitor's technology using their advantages as platform owner and rolling it into their own products (Stac).
There was more, but those were the main ones.
Such as leveraging their preferred status to get dominance for Apple Music (by being able to charge less since they aren't subject to a 30% Apple Store 'fee')?
It wasn't until the end of the 90s when macs started making an impression on peoples desktops, with the imac, but oddly enough if https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_desktop_operati... is to be believed, windows still has a 95% share of the desktop/laptop market.
However I’m not suggesting that local stores are in the wrong either but it does illustrate how consumers have choice there is no such competition inside Apples walled garden. And that is the real crux of why their margins are high: it’s because developers and iPhone owners are locked into the App Store
The obvious counteragument here is that people don’t have to buy iPhones - and that is true. However people do and they still expect their app prices to be low, so developers are the ones who ultimately lose out as they either have to support Apple or be left out entirely and they’re the ones who then have to lower their prices to compete.
It’s also worth noting that the physical store, in your example, would have greater overheads than an App Store
of equivalent size so Apples markup shouldn’t include the same operational cost.
There is massive competition to the garden itself.
I did already acknowledge that and pointing out why it doesn't work in practice.
In a normal high street setting manufacturers and distributors set their prices and the shops then add their mark up on time. If the prices are too high then consumers will shop in another local store. Which means those stores either have to negotiate a lower selling price or reduce their own margins (or offer an alternative incentive to shop there in spite of the high prices - like free coffee)
With iOS consumers don't have the option of going to another App Store, which then flips the order of control. It means Apple can dictate their markup and app developers are then forced to lower their own margins if they want to appear attractive to other shoppers.
Correct, it's certainly unfair competition but what I'm saying is that it's still not a monopoly, not that it's "fair". When you paid for the iPhone you also paid for the services bundle that you bought as a package. Now if Apple controlled 90+% of the market this would fall under antitrust laws (MS+IE situation all over again). But they only control 15%. Users have the option of going for the the same/equivalent service provided by other vastly more popular phones and their app store(s). So every link in the chain has a perfectly good equivalent.
And even Spotify has a choice. They can shaft Apple and become Android only, since Android has 85% of the market. The reason they're not doing it right now I assume is because they would also shaft themselves, the AppStore might bring a very big chunk of their revenue (historically iOS users are bigger spenders).
Practical example of single supplier without an actual monopoly: If you buy a GM car you're left with one option for a subscription telematics service: OnStar. You can't get Lexus Link for example. I don't think it ever occurred to anyone to call this a monopoly.
I agree - which is why I specifically did NOT call it a monopoly.
> When you paid for the iPhone you also paid for the services bundle that you bought as a package....
You're still missing my point:
> And even Spotify has a choice. They can shaft Apple and become Android only, since Android has 85% of the market. The reason they're not doing it right now I assume is because they would also shaft themselves, the AppStore might bring a very big chunk of their revenue (historically iOS users are bigger spenders).
EXACTLY. Thus Spotify effectively doesn't have a choice. It's pay Apples tax or don't have support at all.
This is compounded when you factor in that the in-app sales that Apple wants to take a cut from for businesses like Spotify are sales that Apple's had no stake in. Since you like car metaphors: it's like a taxi driver buying a car and the the dealer expecting to take a cut from all the taxi fairs even though the dealer's involvement ended the moment the car rolled off their forecourt.
> I don't think it ever occurred to anyone to call this a monopoly.
Again, I never called the App Store a monopoly. Others might have but I deliberately didn't because I'm already aware that it legally is not a monopoly. However that doesn't mean they don't still have total control over app sales on their own platform - legal terms aside.
I'm not sure I follow this. When I say choice for Spotify I mean Apple or Google. The industry still allows them to get the same service from the other 85% of the market. I interpret that as "choice", having options. When I go to Malls'R'Us to rent a storefront I only have them as a choice. But I can go to another mall without anyone claiming foul about competition.
Having no choice is when you want internet but there's only one provider. Rejecting that provider doesn't mean you get different internet, or worse. You get none.
And to pick up on the mall analogy above, some storefronts cost more than others especially if they bring in more revenue for the store. And the owner of the mall also has full control over this. Is this not an equivalent situation?
I know I now sound unsympathetic to Spotify's situation but after reading (and later validating) some of the claims Apple is making in this article I can't help but feel like Spotify kind of cheated when they published their call for action by leaving some important stuff out. I had my pitchfork out only to realize the truth is a little more nuanced.
> Having no choice is when you want internet but there's only one provider. because rejecting that provider doesn't mean you get different internet, or worse. You get none.
But ignoring Apple's App Store does mean they then get no service for "iDevices" (not just the iPhone).
So their choice on iOS is pay the tax or don't have a presence. This is complicated by the fact that they would then lose customers who want a music streaming on multiple platforms including iOS. So Spotify's choice is really just an illusion.
> But isn't this what you'd expect when renting a storefront in a mall?
Indeed it is. You usually get a little more choice because you can have different landlords in a given high street (albeit you did specifically say "mall" where that choice wouldn't exist) but even in those cases shop owners are regularly complaining that increases in rent are pushing them out of business. and in fact the UK has seen a lot of independent stores go out of business because of exactly that.
If I want my music in the Spotify catalog who decides what's my cut and what's Spotify's cut of the money my music is generating? They have 100% control there so if I want to list my music there what are my choices? Pay up or not have a presence.
Apple's choice is to give them access to millions of customers with big pockets (statistically), maintain the whole infrastructure for this, not get anything because the app is "free" but actually not even be allowed to drop them? What kind of choice is that? Should an app even be called "free" if it offers nothing without paying? Isn't that like asking for tax exemptions for a nonprofit organization that makes a profit?
Would it be OK if Apple changed the rules so apps had to offer full functionality without further paid unlocks or simply charge for the app as a service in the App Store at whatever monthly price the developer chooses?
The fact that Spotify lied or misled about these details that are pretty obscure to most people (including me until I specifically read about them) kind of disqualifies them from playing victim in my perspective. They want all the benefits with none of the strings.
Indeed. This same argument has been ranging on for years about music streaming services and ebooks via Amazon too. So it's not just Apple who get put under the spotlight.
> Apple's choice is to give them access to millions of customers with big pockets (statistically), maintain the whole infrastructure for this, not get anything because the app is "free" but actually not even be allowed to drop them? What kind of choice is that? Should an app even be called "free" if it offers nothing without paying? Isn't that like asking for tax exemptions for a nonprofit organization that makes a profit?
I think that's a little disingenuous. Apple don't chose to let app developers on board - Apple do it because their platform depends on it. Smart devices live and die depending on the developers that support it.
I also agree there is an infrastructure cost but as I said in an earlier post, it's not equivalent to the infrastructure costs of bricks and mortar despite Apple retaining the same kind of mark up. This is where people get narked off. But as I said elsewhere, I also accept Apple has the right to charge whatever they think they can get away with. I mean that's just basic business.
Your point about free apps is an interesting one however if we're honest, Apple do still make money even from free apps. Developers have to pay a small fortune to get their apps included in the App Store - from MacBook sales (if they weren't already Mac users), developer licences and app submissions. I think (but please correct me if I'm wrong here) Apple also have their own ad network for iOS as well? So they would obviously get a cut of that too. In any case I'm not trying to disagree with you here - more just say that Apple are hardly making a loss on free apps even without taking into account in-app sales.
> Would it be OK if Apple changed the rules so apps had to offer full functionality without further paid unlocks or simply charge for the app as a service in the App Store at whatever monthly price the developer chooses?
In fairness Amazon's app store states something like full functionality. I can't remember the specifics but they push back on apps that are in-app orientated in a scammy way while still allowing developers to be contributed for their work. It's a system which works pretty well - at least from an end user perspective. In fact that was one of the biggest things I missed when I "upgraded" my son's Kindle to a regular Google Play-powered Android tablet.
> The fact that Spotify lied or misled about these details that are pretty obscure to most people (including me until I specifically read about them) kind of disqualifies them from playing victim in my perspective. They want all the benefits with none of the strings.
I don't think Spotify has mislead anyone any more than Apple are misleading people. As you said, they all have an agenda - but that's just the nature of business. The question is really who's controlling the deck and are they doing so unfairly. The answer to the former is quite clearly Apple - but the jury is still out on the latter.
It's not really. Crying wolf is a bit hypocritical seeing how both engage in the exact same practices but only one is coming up with the sob story.
> I don't think Spotify has mislead anyone any more than Apple are misleading people
They came in the court of public opinion asking for fair treatment while misleading and giving half the story in their very loud complaint. They lost their moral high ground. Even worse since they're a company doing the exact same thing to artists. My point is, when you're in the same pigsty keep a low profile ;).
I agree it’s hard to argue who’s right and wrong but your opinion seems to be based purely on a knee jerk emotional reaction - which isn’t a compelling stance to take.
And it's not a kneejerk reaction. I plan on using both Apple and Spotify in the future. But anything Spotify want to get they should also give. Doe it look like they are to you?
So I really wouldn't take Apples rebuttal at face value either. It doesn't line up with what any other the other streaming services (both current nor the ones that closed shop because they simply couldn't afford the exorbitant rights being demanded) have claimed over the years, and it certainly doesn't line up with what I experienced back when I was involved in the music scene myself (which was some years ago now - but sadly it's an industry that showed no sign of adapting even then)
Not true. They can simply not offer in-app purchases. The Kindle App doesn’t pay any “tax” to Apple. Consumers have access to the Kindle App without Apple getting any “cut” of Amazon purchases even as Apple has Books.
I think this is an incorrect analogy. This is why Apple only charges for physical goods, not digital ones. The rationale is they distributed your product to customers you would never have had access to without them:
- they spend marketing dollars to get those customers;
- they develop and maintain a platform so you can run your business on it.
By simply publishing their app on the App Store, Spotify gets access to 15% richest customers of the smartphone market. If you’re charging customers for something they consume on that device, then I think it’s fair to pay a share.
That being said, I have no idea how this will play out in court. Intuitively, 30% the first year sounds like a lot of money for a distribution fee.
Would the app developers "never have access" to those consumers though? Because if the iPhone didn't exist then consumers would just use another handset. Just like we did before the iPhone and just like a significant amount of people do currently.
There's definitely a blurred line somewhere though. I agree to Apple having a fee for app sales though I think 30% is a bit steep but I agree Apple ultimately get to decide how much they want to charge. I agree that some apps might try to circumvent that fee by offering in app sales instead so Apple are trying to close off that particular loophole. However I don't agree that Spotify fall into that same category because their "in app sales" is actually a subscription service to a much larger product. However where do you draw the line?
> I think this is an incorrect analogy.
Obviously I wouldn't agree but I can completely understand why you'd say that given how open to interpretation analogies can be.
To be honest I hate posting them in debates because if you agree with the point then you'll agree with the analogy but if you don't agree with the point then you'll naturally find a reason the analogy doesn't fit. And given analogies aren't meant to be 100% representative, it means there's always plenty of ways to disprove it. Thus analogies are never persuasive in a debate. Worse still, sometimes you end up going down a rabbit hole of arguing analogies rather than discussing the actual point at hand.
For this reason, I usually try to avoid them.
What about the rationale that nobody would have bought their iPhone in the first place if it wasn't for apps?
The 30% is interesting, but so is the Verge article I read about Google lowering their fees from 30% forever to 15% forever: https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/19/16502152/google-play-sto...
I’m sure no one is in the right here, morally speaking. But as far as I can tell, big business is as far as you get from morals.
The App Store is a service rendered to its customers, the likes of Spotify. In the form of the hosting of the app, and all the backend behind that like in-app storage (iCloud). The code review and ‘security guarantee’ that Apple holds over Google and other rivals is also a cost.
IMHO this boils down to subsidy, on the part of digital services companies, publishing apps, subsidise the free and “real world” goods and services company’s that go unlevied for their participation.
It’s a bit like at carnivals, when food trucks pay to get a place, and are often expected to pay a commission on their profits too. But the charity stands, and free ‘workshops’ for kids etc. don’t pay to be their, because their providing a different service.
> Apple's walled garden is _A_ store.
Well obviously. Please quote me where I said otherwise.
> One of several.
Feel free to list all the other app stores on the iPhone.
Yes, but on mobile Spotify doesn't even provide the Marketplace -- only part of it (their own app), the other (the mobile OS, platform, payment processing, consumer trust, marketing, etc) is built by Apple and Google.
After all Google and Apple did.
But they don't.
That's basically capitalism in a nutshell
That's an edgy tankie teenager's definition of capitalism in a nutshell.
If Spotify were selling their products through retail they would probably lose about 50% of their margins.
Retail margins are famously low (very low single digits).
The problem is that Apple and Google are exploiting their mobile content distribution oligopoly so aggressively that they are practically begging for a regulatory crackdown.
I wonder why companies are getting carried away with this kind of profit destroying greed again and again. They are killing their own golden goose.
Could simply be that they dont know what the world will look like in 5 years so they might as well cash out while they can. No use playing the long game when the next big game changer could be around the corner?
Anyhow, they have so much money that even when regulation comes, their business will still be secured.
The margins and costs include more than the wholesale price of the product. The correct question is how much does a farmer get paid for a gallon/liter of milk and how much is that same gallon/liter sold for at the shop. Farmers in the US are getting roughly $1.00 per gallon for whole milk. How much is it selling in the store? Roughly $3.50.
Anytime people talk about “greed,” I tune out because that’s the sign of a person who doesn’t actually know what goes into running the thing they claim a company is greedy with. Take the Apple 30% fee for example. If you ran payment processing yourself through Stripe, you might pay 3%. So let’s take Apple’s remainder to 27%. Apple handles chargebacks/disputes for you. So each dispute using Stripe would cost you $15 unless you win the dispute. We also have fraud prevention and management, which Apple provides. An app developer never has to deal with fraud on the App Store. An fraud is a significant issue, especially selling globally. How much is fraud worth? I would say that it’s worth at least 5% to never have to deal with it. So now the App Store commission is 23%.
Next you have to deal with a CDN for delivery of the purchased app. Where do you store the file? How do you secure it? Who pays for the bandwidth of distributing it? Who maintains that system? With the App Store you don’t have to deal with any of that. I would say that’s worth at least 5%. You can’t have any downtime or you lose money. You can’t have casual security or you’ll lose product. So that system has to be well maintained, robust, and able to handle scale, and be fast and easy for your customer.
Now we are at 18% of Apple’s commission remaining. For every product you sell worldwide, you have tax consequences worldwide, assuming you care about following the law. For every sale you get, you potentially have to remit taxes, taxes that vary by individual jurisdiction. Apple does all of that for you. They also provide a localized and internationalized store front for almost any country in the world. Want to sell your App in Vietnam? Is your infrastructure set up to reach those customers? How about your Vietnamese skills when a potential customer has a purchasing issue? How about your payment processor? Are they set up to handle how Vietnamese people like to pay for things? Can a Vietnamese person go buy a gift card and use it on their device to buy your product? With the App Store, you get all of that capability built-in. And you get that capability for pretty much every connected country. Including market exposure via App Store search and discovery. Let’s combine this point with the next, a product website. If you want to sell on your own you have to build and maintain a website to sell your app. You need to integrate payment processing, the download, security, and maintain it. While most of us have the skills to do that, you also have to ensure it’s updated, you have to pay to host it, translate it into worldwide languages (or not.) However if you actually want to sell your app, you’ll also need to worry about SEO, online marketing and attracting users to your app. Just a simple webpage isn’t going to make a dent in search results from the open web since your “premium music player” keyword will take years to rank.
So the App Store gives you the ordering system, access to many more markets than you’d likely normally be able to handle yourself as well as the aforementioned search and discovery. There is also the trust factor: why would I download some random music player from some random site off the internet? That concern is going to create a high barrier to getting large numbers of people to download the app. Not so on the App Store.
I would say all of that is worth at least 8%.
So that leaves our “greed percentage” at 10%. However, we have another aspect as well. Not only do you sell a paid version, you also have a free version you use as a marketing tool to expose people to how great your app is. That free version has ads that you insert while people are listening to music on your music player. You get 100% of the revenue from the ads, Apple has nothing to do with that. However, all of the stuff we’ve described above — Apple gets 0% for free apps — and your free users download and use the store infrastructure by the millions. Millions of downloads that never touch your system. Who pays for that bandwidth? Not you, at least not directly. So Apple has 10% of that fee unaccounted for. Handling all of your free users is probably worth at least 5%. Also we haven’t talked about an update. If you release an update, how do all of your millions of users get the update? Apple handles that for you as well.
On your second year of a subscription, the commission drops to 15% because many of those above listed expenses aren’t as relevant. However, taxes, update infrastructure, payments, declined cards, collections, etc.. that’s still being handled.
Making an argument that Apple is “greedy” is ill-informed. Besides, you don’t even have to pay Apple 30%. Users could go to your website and pay there. Then Apple is handling all of you download/update infrastructure for practically free. That 30% is only applicable when users pay within the App Store context. So Apple handles the distribution of potentially millions of downloads even though they aren’t necessarily making much money from your subscriptions you sell outside the store. Maybe it’s greedy to expect Apple to manage millions of your downloads for just a $99 per year developer fee? Apple expecting a cut of transactions they manage isn’t unreasonable.
> Apple handles chargebacks/disputes for you.
In many cases they forward the complaint on to you as the developer for "does not perform as described".
> If you ran payment processing yourself through Stripe, you might pay 3%. ... We also have fraud prevention and management, which Apple provides. An app developer never has to deal with fraud on the App Store.
You're double dipping. You already subtracted some money for Stripe, unless you're implying they _don't_ have fraud protection and management?
> Next you have to deal with a CDN for delivery of the purchased app. Where do you store the file? How do you secure it? Who pays for the bandwidth of distributing it? Who maintains that system? With the App Store you don’t have to deal with any of that. I would say that’s worth at least 5%.
Or Cloudflare for $20/mo?
> So the App Store gives you the ordering system, access to many more markets than you’d likely normally be able to handle yourself as well as the aforementioned search and discovery. There is also the trust factor: why would I download some random music player from some random site off the internet? That concern is going to create a high barrier to getting large numbers of people to download the app. Not so on the App Store.
> I would say all of that is worth at least 8%.
Sounds like an artificial barrier to me. "Insert roadblock, charge for roadblock, say I'm doing you a favor". I'm also not sure how you think you magically don't have to do any SEO or marketing just because you're in the Apple Store, let alone that it's automatically worth "8%".
No-one is saying that the Apple Store doesn't add value or manageability.
But I am questioning your magic calculations that just happen to reduce Apple's tax to effectively nothing.
Apropos of anything else, developers handling "millions" of downloads are in the single percent range. And can also afford economies of scale to support things themselves, CDNs, merchant accounts and the like. But instead they have to pay Apple's flat rate.
So I am fully aware of everything you're saying and I agree with most of it in principle. I do disagree on the numbers you're using. But we are both inevitably ill-informed in the sense that neither of us has the hard numbers required to work out the true cost of running the App Store.
We do know a couple of things though:
1) The App Store is profitable. Apple has said so. Most analysts reckon that it has high and growing margins. Everything Apple says about its services business makes me believe that these analysts are correct.
2) There are only two relevant mobile app stores (perhaps 2 1/2 if you count Amazon).
3) Both charge exactly 30%
This is not a well functioning market by any definition. Dysfunctional markets like these rarely charge too little. So the assumption that they charge too much seems not too far fetched.
To me, charging 30% for every app, irrespective of its price, seems completely implausible, not just the percentage but also the structure. Any plausible pricing structure would include a fixed fee plus a percentage.
I'm not using the word "greed" in a moral sense (as is often the case). I'm using it because it is clearly an act of self harm to extract high margins in an obviously oligopolistic and dysfunctional market.
They are begging to be regulated and why would they do such a stupid thing?
I'm quite sure technically (at the size of the Apple Store) a digital marketplace could charge 1% and still make a profit after the operational costs.
1% instead would be $383 million a year. You think that wouldn't be sufficient to run a digital store (including the things mentioned)? Pretty sure you can do it with far less than that.
Mobile platforms are dysfunctional markets. That's why they can charge 30% and that's why regulators will step in sooner or later.
But take a look around and you will find that there is no digital shop that acts as a merchant of record internationally for anywhere close to 1%. It's impossible and completely unrealistic even before accounting for the entire software development and distribution side.
They can charge 30% because the marketplace (Apple's App Store & Google's playstore) are monopolies and they have complete control over the complete supply chain. If you want your app to be available on the iPhone you have to go through the App Store. There is simply no other way (for a native app), as such you either give in 30% or you don't create an iPhone app.
I agree with that. 30% is not a plausible rate in a well functioning market. But it's not 1% either, I can guarantee you that. So what is the right revenue share?
Paddle charges 5% to act as a merchant of record for you (i.e as a reseller). That's what Apple does as well and I haven't seen that service offered for much less.
On top of that, Apple provides all the software distribution and discovery functionality. I'm not sure what the cost of that is, but it's not nothing.
So by my estimate, a realistic revenue share for Apple in a well functioning market could be in a range between 8% and 15%. But on the lower end that might mean higher fixed fees for free apps and worse support.
What they should do first of all is change the pricing structure to charge a fixed fee plus a percentage. That would allow them to cover their per transaction cost and take a far more realistic revenue cut on top of that.
You just don't have a right to distribute that code to others. And that's one of the reasons why many of us like iOS since I can almost guarantee I won't have malware, viruses etc.
It runs on all the platforms I want it to run, including on Linux or on my Playstation, you can easily switch devices, picking up where you left off, you can remotely control devices, etc. The suggestions engine isn't spectacular, but works. I also like to see what my friends listen to. They also have the best integrations with other apps.
The music selection could use some improvement but it's much better than Apple's Music and getting better every month.
In other words your claim is very disingenuous.
Ultimately, if I use Spotify to discover an artist, I’m going to continue paying Spotify to listen to that artist and the artist themselves will be lucky to even make pennies off of that. I could move off Spotify and keep listening to that artist pretty easily, I just probably won’t. Spotify is a middleman focused on discovery but isn’t providing ongoing value to the artist once the viewer has discovered them.
Apple on the other hand is building and maintaining the platform that app creators use. This is a lot more tha discovery, the app wouldn’t even exist without the platform, and Apple keeps adding more value to the platform over time. Apple is not a middleman.
Apple created a lot of value with its first iPhone, but the world evolved since then.
And yes, in your definition, Apple too is a middleman, because a big reason for why many people buy overpriced smartphones is to use apps. That you can't move those purchases easily to another platform, that's the lock-in effect of Apple's walled garden, but that doesn't make them any less of a middleman.
Speaking of pennies, I emphasize, but how much are artists getting paid by Apple Music? Isn't this hypocrisy on their part? This whole thing is infuriating because Apple can easily undercut its competition because they don't have to pay the 30% store tax.
This is anti-competitive behavior and yes, I realize that Apple does not have a monopoly, but I think anti-trust laws should be rewritten, because this kind of behavior isn't acceptable coming from the world's richest software company, due to the infinite potential they have for harming the market.
You do realise that there are technical reasons for that.
You can't just lift an iOS, Linux, Windows, Android, PS4, Xbox etc app and just run it on a different platform. Especially if your target platform is a resource constrained one.
To be honest though, I’m less concerned about app portability as I am about retaining ownership of apps after their or the app stores support has ended. While this doesn’t really matter for mobile apps nor music streaming services, it’s something that really concern me with regards to collecting retro games. There is a lot to be said for owning physical media. But I’ve digressed.
For example I use Gimp and Inkscape, irregardless of the OS. The experience is a little shitty on MacOS, but they get the job done.
It's also the reason for why Microsoft was able to provide the "Subsystem for Linux" on Windows 10, because the Linux kernel is much easier to mock than Windows is, being a much smaller effort than what the Wine project has to handle. Speaking of Wine, it has been doing a decent job of running Windows apps on Linux, many Windows-only games are playable on Linux due to it. And Steam has been using Wine to make games available on Linux.
iOS on the other hand is another matter entirely. First of all you don't have direct access to the binaries, without hacking the OS and Apple is doing everything they can to make that OS unhackable.
No, we are not talking of technical limitations, as those aren't insurmountable.
Everything ultimately leans on suppliers so if that's your definition everything is a middle man unless you farm crops or dig up ore or something.
Also the title Middle Man has a sort of negative conotation to it. But Spotify/Apple Music is simply a platform that can connect a artist to a listener. But this doesnt make them any more of a middleman then Netflix or the guy at Mcdonalds who cooks your Cheeseburger.
Spotify also uses Apples infrastructure and marketing tools for its app. I dont think Ive seen any app creator up on stage at Apple events more than Spotify. Its not like Spotify will use Apples tools and ecosystem one time then stop. Its ongoing and 15% is reasonable. Apple literally changed the app store rules to accomodate Spotify and everyone knows it.
I will say that I think Spotify should be able to advertise payment outside the app.
As for payments, they all follow the same scheme more or less and redistribute about 70% of the revenue to the rightholders. If the services are priced the same, it's exactly the same for artists.
The big difference is that Spotify has a permanent free tier, which admittedly makes less money short term, but it is driving acquisition of premium users faster than any other methods. The alternative being no revenue, it's just fine.
Apple on the same topic doesn't care about razor thin margins on this product, or even losses. They are a hardware vendor, so as long as they still sell their devices, they will be fine.
What markup do you think that is. For larger apps I'd imagine it's about 1500% (ie 1% covers the costs).
Want to talk about exploiting others work to make money, how about we start with their factories which they use to exploit other countries’ cheap labor?
She called out Apple when she was at her high, now she bends to Spotify and launches exclusive content on the platform. The platform that doesn't want to pay the artists even when they have all the right.
She mightn't be a hypocrite, just she may not care as long as she's paid??
I think you may want to refresh your memory on that. The subject was Apple paying artists during the trial period—when Apple itself isn't being paid. Which isn't brazenly greedy, since (a) they're not making any money during that time, and (b) that was and is still the standard. What was different about Apple was that their trial period—the period where users could subscribe to Apple Music without paying Apple anything—was 3 months, instead of the industry standard 1 month.
Swift had a legitimate complaint about not getting paid for 3 months of listening, but to describe "2 more months where listeners don't have to pay Apple a dime" as "some brazenly greedy policies" misses the mark by quite a bit.
Tidal's model is supposedly more literally like the proverbial "pie", where the most popular artists get the biggest cut. So if it's true that they inflate numbers for Jay Z and Beyonce, then other artists are being deprived of revenue.
It’s actually more plays than that because Spotify also takes 30% of each stream payout, so it’s odd they would also complain about a 30% mechanical.
The premium accounts payout more per stream than freemium accounts.
This is also assuming the artist owns the master recording outright, wrote the entire song, and administers their own publishing and mechanical royalties. The latter being almost impossible.
More than likely if signed to a label, they will get 10% of sales, the label will get the rest. This is based on traditional album deals where you get 1 point per song. If they are also published, the publisher takes half of their performance royalties, a mere 6-7 percent of stream payout. Also the PRO(ASCAP, BMI, etc) recieves half of the mechanicals, another measly 6-7 percent. To be clear if you don’t speak music payment terms. The people that own the publishing AKA the people that actually write the song, and administer that published writing only get 12-16% per stream payout(not fair). When labels receive around 48%-58% per stream payout, this is for a specialized business loan that pays for the recording + marketing and distribution(way too much). Not to mention this loan has to be totally recouped before the artist sees any of that 10 percent, if they ever do.
To sell anything on Amazon, you are charged $40/month for a professional account, or they have an under 40 item plan with a listing fee of $.99 per item. An additional 15% is taken by them on music sales. So if you have less than 40 songs you pay $.99 a month to list them each.
I would imagine that the artists probably care even if you don't.
So instead of demanding their fair share from the labels, they go after streaming services who don't even pay them directly: all money goes through labels.
And taking 30% of each transactions is exactly what you're accusing Spotify from doing, Apple.
When you see ESPN and Comcast argue over showing the World Series, don't buy the argument that one of them is "trying to prevent loyal customers from being able to see their favorite game", or when your local hospital group withdraws from your employer health plan that "the other side is trying to deprive you of consumer choice".
Each side is wanting to make a share of the money, and they're disagreeing over the price (or often the royalties share). No one is entitled to any particular provision of service in any of these cases. Except in regulated industries there's no law governing the "fair" share that someone has to offer, or someone has to accept. And in most cases, each side could choose to compromise what it's asking for with no damage to its model of business (not talking about $, just the principles they claim).
Spotify wants a lower $ charge. Apple owns the platform and controls that access and $ charge. That's it.
This is a private contract dispute and only of interest because you care about listening to music. There's no public right to have a music app be charged a certain amount that's called "fair". Spotify could charge nothing to consumers, and be charged nothing by Apple. It's their choice. It's Apple's choice.
Don't be fooled into "principles" when there's money involved.
Competition laws place limitations on what a business can do. They're not free to sell or price entirely as they please.
In this case Spotify are arguing that Apple is using its dominance of the smartphone market to give an unfair advantage to its own music store. Whether or not this is true is up to the courts to decide, but it's not a frivilous case; there's a real risk to Apple that they lose.
As I said in a comment far below here, it's a funny thing, how to define anticompetitive and monopoly practices, depending on how you frame the scope of the market. See Peter Thiel's book for a chapter on this.
You could say that Apple has a monopoly over developers building apps and providing their services to people using iPhones. Someone else looking at it could say that Spotify has a multitude of ways to provide its content to customers -- web, it's own Windows + Mac desktop apps, Android, etc.
Which way is a regulator supposed to look at it?
The point about Apple Music is also interesting. Actually Apple Music (the streaming version) I believe came after Spotify. Anticompetitive regulations are about penalizing behavior that discourages new entrants to the market. Apple Music was actually the newer entrant in that case.
Market share argument:
Android has 71% market share in the EU, as of February 2019 - compared to iOS's 21%. 
Ease of customer switching argument:
If Apple pressed too much in a way that harmed consumers, there are many other cheaper alternative Android phones vs. iOS to which they can easily port their number over (say what you want about ISPs and Telecoms, I find this to be pretty easy in the US - unless you signed an unreasonably stifling contract. Admittedly I'm unsure how difficult this would be in most of the EU.)
Supply-Side Price elasticity argument:
In theory, if the 30% cut was too high, developers wouldn't want to develop on the iOS platform, and would instead focus resources on developing on Android; the specific cut would be at an equilibrium point that enough developers would find profitable, and would still provide choice in the app marketplace for customers.
If iOS had 100% share, you probably wouldn't say it doesn't have a monopoly on apps because you can just use desktop apps instead.
I also wouldn't say Comcast doesn't have a monopoly because they only have xx% share and you can move to a different state or country and get another provider. Or use your phone for internet instead.
> Ease of customer switching argument
This is confusing the consumer market for smartphones and the markets for distribution of smartphone app.
> Supply-Side Price elasticity argument
Yeah, if any monopoly's cut is too high, you can exit the market. This is not an argument that the monopoly is not a monopoly. This only means there is a limit to the monopoly's power.
It's bunkum and doesn't fit with 100 years of antitrust law.
However, he can buy an aftermarket part. It's a different product but the same market. So they don't have a monopoly.
I don't know much about antitrust law so I can't comment on that But I do understand basic economics. And from an economic perspective, Apple most definitely created a monopoly which they most definitely use for rent seeking.
An android phone is just as portable and has all of the same features as an Apple phone. The only day to day difference is having access to the apple ecosystem.
It’s nothing but a minor inconvenience to switch between android and iOS. The same can’t be said for any of your other comparisons.
Switching includes spending hundreds of dollars plus hours to setup and figure things out plus several days of frustrating adjustments.
You might call that a "minor inconvenience". It certainly is more minor than my examples above. But that absolutely is enough to separate the two app markets.
Virtually nobody will switch systems for an app.
I think it's worth pointing out that Spotify is a Swedish company, where iOS has a 58% market share, according to the site you linked. It could be that Spotify's main markets are ones where iOS has a more significant share.
"In theory, if the 30% cut was too high, developers wouldn't want to develop on the iOS platform"
The problem is not just that Apple is taking a 30% cut; it's that it's also running a competing service. Spotify are arguing that Apple are unfairly using their supposed dominance in one market (phones) to achieve dominance in another market (streaming music).
I still find it true that a lot of the early iOS users still have their premium subscription. And I wouldn't be surprised if iOS is dominant in the premium users of Spotify today.
I found the response by Apple good and I think they've helped Spotify grow a lot. Suing Apple feels a bit like they are shooting themselves in the foot.
Well no, Apple's even admit that Spotify didn't get their subscriptions through them:
"only a tiny fraction of their subscriptions fall under Apple’s revenue-sharing model"
A bit of apples to oranges comparison, but Internet Explorer was also the newer entrant in a previous case.
What? No, they're not just about protecting new entrants, and if you think about it for five seconds it should be obvious why. Microsoft lost it's 1998 antitrust case, despite Internet Explorer being released after Netscape.
I honestly cannot see the legal footing in this whole thing to claim that Apple has any sort of obligation to be "fair" here.
Or even just any legal depth. It's all just PR fluff speak.
Personally, I use Amazon Music because I get it as part of Amazon Prime. It has most of the music I want to listen to, but not all. I was considering Spotify, but with nonsense like this, this is one potential customer that they have lost.
I don't think you can say that the App Store is itself a relevant market. Especially when you consider that Spotify's exact same services are offered across many other platforms. When you can interchange Android Spotify and iOS Spotify and receive the exact same product and services from Spotify, then how can you frame Apple as a dominant undertaking?
Is Porsche more dominant than Toyota?
Like Microsoft bundling/treating IE differently to any other browser on its platform.
I think that's an oversimplification.
When you control the platform and then use that control to favor your own products on that platform, that's anti-competitive.
I believe Spotify is claiming Apple is doing this with Apple Music vs Spotify and I didn't see this issue addressed by Apple's message.
I am not sure I agree with Spotify's claim, and US antitrust is in a parlous state, but this approach may get traction in the EU. However Apple's market share is far far from monopolistic.
"We're a duopoly not a monopoly" is not a particularly compelling argument.
In particular, "monopoly power" is typically not interpreted (in the US or EU) to mean literally a single supplier but rather whether you exert dominance in the market. You're correct that "it's a duopoly" is not a compelling argument but Apple would not bother to try to make that case either. They'll just point to the fact that they have about a quarter of the market world wide and slightly more than that in the EU alone; evening the US it's a little less than half the market.
I suspect they have a strong case legally, whatever the merits of Spotify's claim, and doubt they would prevail in court (though IANAL -- it doesn't matter what I think). However if the lawsuit is part of a strategy to get the EU competition commission to act, then it can be effective, even perhaps more effective if they lose!
There are many platforms which rigidly control what's allowed on it. For example, is Netflix comparable? Netflix can control which providers are represented on its platform.
I don't think Netflix is comparable. The App Store is a market place, where things are bought and sold. Netflix is not a consumer marketplace.
Netflix shows a wide variety of content to the buyer, the buyer pays and consumes certain (but not all) of the content. The content owners are ultimately paid in a way that reflects the demand for their product relative to the others available in that marketplace. (It's not per-unit pricing with a rev share, but you still get paid more to license big blockbuster content than little-watched niche stuff.)
Also similar to App Store, Netflix has certain "blessed" in-house products that it pays to create itself, and lists along side the externally-created products.
That is what Spotify is alleging, yes.
Netflix isn't comparable as you can choose any other content streaming services. And also you can use any ISP to access to Netflix.
You're correct that Apple Music may be a loss leader, but even if it is a loss leader, there's significantly more nuance involved before we can declare it to be predatory pricing.
That's not how that works. If you charge $50/hr as a freelance software developer and you work on your own stuff for a day you didn't "get $400 back", you paid $400 in opportunity cost.
If apple had a limited number of apps and they were declining other apps in lieu of its own, that would be true.
Since Spotify have ~36% of the global market (Apple have ~19%) that could reasonably be viewed as predatory pricing.
It's also worth noting that Spotify charge as much as Apple and you can subscribe to the service without using IAP.
But I would just caution people to consider whether your stance is truly based on what you think should apply generally, or just because you like the person/party in the specific case. (applies to a lot of things in life)
The power of platform providers versus app providers ebbs and flows back and forth with new technology, depending on who has the most market / customer pull. And you should try to deconfuse your principles about who should be able to charge what, from your liking of the provider -- because that can change in an instant.
Craigslist charges employers a significant fee to post their job listings. Employers have far less sway than Spotify does in that platform dispute. I'm guessing you (audience) like Craigslist, and support them in what they charge? Why?
Amazon charges companies to sell on their platform. You probably don't complain a lot about that, and that's probably just as restrictive as Apple+Spotify for some sellers. Why? Is it because you like Amazon's services?
Or you maybe like Grubhub, and don't care that it takes a huge cut from restaurant owners. (a cut that is more painful than what Spotify charges per month, to the restaurant on every single order you make)
I don't choose sides either way. What is "reasonable" is what the parties had the clout and market pull to agree to, and what the law says is acceptable in form.
Separate your principles from your preferences.
Craigslist charging employers to post job listings doesn't seem like it would have much of an impact on the consumer market. I'd guess that the business-to-business expense in this instance probably isn't significant enough for it to be passed on to the (employer's) customers or impact their experience.
Restaurants probably don't take as large of a chunk of their revenue or have as many restrictions placed upon them by Grubhub as Spotify does by Apple.
Amazon, on the other hand, is probably the closest comparison. However, I suspect Amazon's services to their sellers involve greater capital and operating expenses than the services Apple provides to their sellers. Both companies need to spend money on tech infrastructure, development, and support. In addition to this, Apple needs to employ reviewers to act as the gatekeepers of the App Store and possibly buy hardware for those reviewers to use. In contrast, Amazon needs to build/purchase/rent warehouses, employ warehouse workers, and purchase warehouse equipment (forklifts, etc.).
Amazon also doesn't take a cut of, for example, Microsoft's subscription fees if someone orders an Xbox and subscribes to Xbox Live. This might be different for Amazon's app store for their Fire OS devices, but I'm guessing you were referring to their general marketplace.
To be fair, I probably don't know enough about any of these markets for my opinions to hold much weight, but I'm not sure if the examples you gave really line up with the situation between Apple and Spotify. But I definitely agree that it's important for people to try to remember to stay unbiased with these things.
People always try to make businesses out as the unitary function organizations where their profit is completely disconnected from serving a market and keeping that market happy.
The only time when companies can operate without keeping customers happy are a) when they have an absolute monopoly and (often the same) b) when they are given some sort of political protection from the marketplace whether indirectly or directly.
You can also make money by giving customers no choice.
Important detail you left out: Comcast is a regulated utility.
Things are different at scale. There is absolutely ample precedent for regulating pricing for large scale utilities.
I think that's a very hypothetical claim.
> Let’s be clear about what that means. Apple connects Spotify to our users. We provide the platform by which users download and update their app. We share critical software development tools to support Spotify’s app building. And we built a secure payment system — no small undertaking — which allows users to have faith in in-app transactions. Spotify is asking to keep all those benefits while also retaining 100 percent of the revenue.
I think we should be clear that Apple built the app-store ecosystem to improve its iPhone adoption and lock-in. And Spotify isn't asking to keep 100% of the revenue. Spotify is asking for a choice of letting users pay how they wish.
The problem really is Apple wants to milk its App store ecosystem now that its popular and 30% / 15% is a very steep price / revenue loss for any significant player in that eco-system. And FWIW, Google provides a similar App store service, while also allowing users to what they choose with their phones (i.e., install side-loaded Apps).
Apple makes Microsoft look like an angel. Using this argument, Microsoft could claim they could have made hundreds of billions if they got a cut out of every Windows app sale. Oh, and that those companies wouldn't exist if it weren't for Windows.
Because it uses these deep integration APIs, we're only allowed to distribute the application using the macOS App Store (whose rejections, appeals, and eventual acceptance made for quite the stressful saga over the last week and a half)
Imagine having to get certified by the Linux Foundation, under distribution clause, to access native Linux kernel APIs. But that's what the developer of Wiregaurd has to do to gain access to native macOS integration.
Yeah, unfortunately it seems like we're still in the state where UNIX/Linux can't popularize anything, especially themselves, unless they're repackaged by someone else :(
Which is absolutely true of Microsoft as well. The sheer productivity boon that Office has added to businesses around the world is unmatched by practically any other piece of software ever written. Most of the businesses would still exist, but they wouldn't be the same business. Excel, Powerpoint, and Word are ridiculously important software.
But users can pay how they wish, if Spotify didn't mind the 30%/15% cut. Spotify simply can't direct users to use their website to use an alternative payment system. I think that is a very reasonable policy for an app store, as it protects its users from poorly implemented financial info handling and scams.
I agree that Apple's article is more hostile than it needed to be, but it is only in response to an unreasonable attack by Spotify on Apple's IAP policies.
Regarding the walled-garden App Store policies of Apple, it's not friendly to enthusiasts and some developers, but it is good for most Apple consumers, and helps less tech-savvy users trust Apple's App Store.
Android has freer permissions on installing apps, because that is necessary for vendor adoption. However, it is unclear if this is still ultimately a better decision for consumers on aggregate.
Give me a break. It doesn’t take 15-30% to implement a secure payment system. This is proven by Apple itself: Apple Pay charges very little for secure payments for physical goods.
Also Apple doesn't just support the secure payment system, they also handle distributing the money and providing customer support to the end user and the developer. That isn't free either.
If you don't like the Apple model, there are alternatives.
Apple's argument (which seems compelling if we judge it on the result) is that their model is the best solution for customers and developers.
What alternatives? Without allowing developers to create 3rd-party payment systems, all payments must be routed through Apple.
>Apple's argument (which seems compelling if we judge it on the result) is that their model is the best solution for customers and developers.
Apple's model does not seem to be compelling for developers/content creators. Developers need to pay a large (for some) amount of money and give Apple a large cut of their profits.
It's also unclear why Apple's model is best for consumers. While it seems good because it protects consumers from scams on third party sites, for reputable companies like Spotify or Netflix, there doesn't seem to be a risk, except for increased prices to the end user because companies need to compensate for losing a third of their earnings.
No they cant, that is a violation of Apples Policies and would result in the App being removed, Amazon tried that with ebooks years ago. You can not redirect a user for payment inside the app, to a payment system outside the app.
>Regarding the walled-garden App Store policies of Apple, it's not friendly to enthusiasts and some developers, but it is good for most Apple consumers, and helps less tech-savvy users trust Apple's App Store.
It is not an either or option. I think Google has struck a good balence, Their App store is pretty locked down today, but if you know the "hidden" menu and what steps to take you can easily unlock the device and install alternate stores and apps.
There is zero security reason why Apple could not supply this type of hidden unlock for people, it is pure monetary control that they desire
And, just coincidentally, that 'protection' is very lucrative for Apple.
I would be much more supportive of efforts to push Apple to allow third party payment systems of the practices I mentioned above weren’t so common.
As things stand, Apple has mixed priorities. They want to enable developers where those developers add uniquely to the platform, but they want to outcompete developers where they cannibalise sales from Apple's own products.
This dual remit doesn't help consumers. If Apple's music offering had to pay the 30% tax "for real", they might have to charge $13 too, and that might make the iPhone an expensive platform for music-listeners, and they might be incentivised to cut their margins to compete with other platforms. We could all agree, "Sure it's expensive, but it's their turf and they can run it badly (to their own detriment) if they want."
Not sure where you draw the line between first-party app and OS functionality though. I imagine in some cases it'd be less clear than here.
This is a bit of a ridiculous claim. From another perspective, an iPhone is just another way to access your favorite apps and content. Taken to more of an extreme, imagine Comcast or T-Mobile claiming that they provide users to Spotify... Apple is easily just a middle man here but they make themselves sound like the entity that owns the users and plugs them into apps. It's not like people buy iPhones just because they're shiny pieces of aluminum and glass, and using apps is secondary to that.
"Our platform enables your app" is true in both cases. But so is "our app brings people to your platform." The power imbalance is that it's easier to build a competing app than a competing app store or ISP.
How is this is a hypothetical claim? It is blatantly obvious. Spotify's early days were entirely dependent on the mobile marketplace. Even now, desktop use constitutes a tiny fraction of their total users.
It's not a hypothetical claim at all, really.
> 30% / 15% is a very steep price / revenue loss
Source? Because 30% / 15% is a common middleman commision for most platforms.
> Google provides a similar App store service
This is ridiculously far from the truth. Google's Play Store isn't curated in the least. Malware regularly pops up, the review process is effectively nonexistent, and the quality of apps on the Play Store is thus far below what one can get from the App Store.
There are costs to reviewing every app. I don't think it's fair for you to say 30% is unfair unless you (a) compare the costs to other middlemen, and (b) figure out how expensive the review process and other infrastructure is.
In general, all you really seem to be doing is promoting freeloading off the App Store. Utilize the benefits it provides, but have users pay for your service via a side-channel so you don't have to contribute back to the ecosystem.
Spotify's earliest days were before smartphones. I had Spotify on my computers before they'd even released an iPhone app.
Spotify launched on Desktop after the App Store launched.
Your link seems to say the opposite.
It is impossible to stop the subscription. No thank you, I will trust my payments with Apple.. Esp. subscriptions.
Is that worth 30%/15%? I don't know. The fact that 15% exists shows that Apple is thinking about the pricing and adjusting. Apple just doesn't do anything quickly.
Is anyone else bugged by the "Let's be clear/To be clear" prefix that gets thrown around a lot these days? It seems unnecessary. If you're being clear then that will be self-evident. It seems like a way to preemptively trick the reader in to taking whatever follows as correct and authoritative.
Everyone wants to move to the subscription service model and Apple has developed rules accordingly.
Consumers pay the same price. Artists earn more. Who cares how Apple shuffles fictional numbers in their internal accounting?
1 I have an app or service say X and I sell it for 5$ and this is the lowest price I can afford
2 Apple wants a 30% cut, so I will have to make my app 7$ .
all is fine so far, the problem is at step 3
3 Apple clones my app names it iX(my original app was named X), makes it 5$ (or bundles it with some gift cars or other deals if you give them more money).
4 Apple's iX gets access to private APIs, is cheaper(or free) since is subsidized, Apple also forces me not to remove from my X app any links to my webpages if I sell things there
Now, please, consider THE USER, what does the user get:
- the user gets less options if my app X is killed or I remove it from the store
- the user pays more if I raise the prices
- the user does not see m,y sale pages because I can't show it in the app
- the X app that some(a big number of ) users consider it better can't access native features like iX can
So, get 30% or whatever you want but compete fair.
Meanwhile Apple is not attempting to undercut Spotify in the retail space. And they are paying artists substantially more than Spotify for the music so they're clearly not attempting to run a more profitable business.
The user looses when there is not enough competition, like you get stuck with a worse browser (but in this case this may be a deliberate thing to protect the app store)
again, tell me about what the benefit is for the user/consumer not what about x, the market shares, the laws in US, free market ....
$3 in Apple's bag for no work or effort at all
This is the same sort of rhetoric that calls dropbox a weekend project.
There's credit card costs etc associated with that as well. Doubt it's $3/user per month though and the distribution costs are minimal (only downloads of app updates) compared to the streaming costs (which could be multiple GBs every month).
Spotify: $ to build the app, $ to maintain the music label relationships, $ to manage paying royalties, $ to manage server infra, $ for bandwidth, $ to Apple for the "privilege" of being listed on the App Store and using Apple's payments system (which they have no choice over).
Both companies have the exact same base costs to operate their service. But Apple gets to charge for subscriptions through the app for free, whereas Spotify does not. That's literally the only difference cost-wise, and IMO Spotify is correct to consider that anti-competitive. Whether or not Apple would make more or less money shuttering Apple Music and transferring all their customers to Spotify is completely irrelevant.
And no, I don't consider "creating and maintaining an iOS payments system" to be a part of Apple's costs here. That would exist even if Apple Music did not, and the marginal cost of having Apple Music use that system is virtually nil, certainly not 30% of Spotify's subscription fee.
Some apps pay for that effort with a cut of the app's retail price. Spotify pays for it with the tiny fraction of their users which (a) pay for it at all and (b) pay for it through their iOS device.
No reason to have users pay twice, when they buy their device and when they try to use services on the device they already have.
The cost for the store platform is paid by the developers when they sell the app.
We don't see the internal accounting but it's quite likely they do. Internal revenue distribution is standard practice in almost all enterprises.
This is both true and generally irrelevant for business, except for the particular matter of taxation.
Firstly, that competitor product has technical advantages as it can access APIs that Spotify cannot (SiriKit, background audio on earlier versions of WatchOS).
Secondly, that competitor product is at a financial advantage because of the 30% fee.
It's not the fee itself that's the issue. It's that Apple is (arguably) using it's control of the platform to compete unfairly against Spotify.
Which you mandate Spotify uses. This isn't an enumerable benefit to Spotify, it is the lock-in mechanism that makes the Apple Tax work.