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30% does seem a little bit high. What justification does Apple use for charging that much?

Because they have a monopoly on App Stores on iOS devices

Edit: clarification of Apple’s monopolising

Is Wal-Mart a monopoly too, since I’m not allowed to walk in and set up my own shelf of goods to sell? Serious question

That’s the wrong comparison. In this context your opportunity is to create an entirely new supermarket in the same country.

No one can create a new App Store on iOS devices.

The equivalent would be buying an Android phone, which many people do (in fact more than have an iPhone).

I see that as equivalent to opening your Wal-mart competitor in a different country... there’s no competition.

If we are going down this line, I can also make some new arguments. Why do you think MS bundling IE was bad then, sure they had more marketshare than iOS but they were just improving the end user experience and now every platform comes with a browser by default.

Apple does not have a monopoly on phones. Far from it in fact.

If you are referring to the App Store itself well no hardware device I can even think of, apart from a computer, allows competing stores.


Yeah, apart from installing APKs from the internet, you also have F-droid which is an entirely separate app repository, along with official stores from Samsung, Amazon and other OEMs.

Cynically: because they can.

Benefit of the doubt: Apple provides a great deal of value for app creators in the form of documentation, development software, a distribution network, payment provider, etc... all of which costs money.

> the form of documentation

their documentation is some of the worst out there. android on the other hand has some of the better documentation. that said i prefer apple products but as a dev their docs are woefully bad. basically just a dump of the class header comments and not enough conceptual documents coupled with some information is mentioned in the wwdc videos and basically nowhere else. The richest company on the planet could use to hire some technical writers.

If they can charge anything, aren't they leaving money on the table-- why only 30%? To be clear, I would personally disagree with an increase, but I ask in the context of running a maximally profitable business.

Not necessarily, there's a breaking point where it can't be profitable anymore to be on Apple's platform if they charge to much. That needs to factor in the money that people have to spend and the margins of the businesses making programs and services for the platform. If they charged say 70% and expected the businesses to just raise their prices then all the sudden any in app purchases and subscriptions become incredibly expensive on Apple's platform. That will drive away users from both the services and from Apple devices shrinking the size of the market for everyone there. If they existed in a vacuum (no android, no way to do out of app purchases, etc.) then things may look very different. That's the point where they'd be explicitly using their monopoly power to control prices. They can still be doing that before that point of course but it'd be very easy to prove in that hypothetical.

Access to a exclusive market of people with buying power.

Which implies that as the user, you are the product, being sold by Apple (and Google) to the app developers for a 30% vig.

It's comparable to Google's charge and only slightly more expensive than other merchant providers.

I still consider it quite extortionate however considering app devs are adding to the ecosystem and potentially driving sales.

You can install APKs on Android. The Play store isn't necessary. On iOS, however, you have no option but to use Apple's AppStore.

> only slightly more expensive than other merchant providers.

which merchant accounts are charging that? last i saw it was typically a transaction fee of ~35¢ and around a 2-3% fee on the rest.

30% is the standard "platform" fee for many distribution platforms.

For games (as it is a domain I know): Steam, Playstation Network, XBox all charge 30%.

Because if you don't offer your app on their app store, you get hardly any users, and make no money at all. 70% > 0%.

Those iTunes gift cards in stores are not cheap.

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