Basically, they're hoping that this will stop some app developers from demanding the right to use third party payment processors, which would likely be used many of the larger >$1 million revenue publishers.
The Android Police article about this cites an example from iOS, that "On Apple's App Store, the 98% of developers who qualified for a lower revenue share rate were responsible for less than 5% of Apple's total collected revenue"
Also, I don't think Google mindlessly copies anything Apple does. Sure, part of it is pure competition. But I'm sure they also evaluated the reasons behind Apple's decision.
Unlikely, since Google and Apple monopolize in the same way. Google and Apple are close allies in this fight, and if the Epic lawsuit or an antitrust investigation goes bad for one, it'll go bad for the other.
> The reason I believe this is that it is uncharacteristic of Google to blatantly copy something like this over the years,
This is comical. Google me-toos everything. Google Home's entire product line being a blatant Amazon Echo rip off. Google Cloud needing to launch a copy of every AWS service, etc.
There wouldn't seem to be any strong reason for both stores to pick identical fee structures - they aren't really in competition.
The switch was actually relatively painless when it comes to the apps themselves, the biggest problem I have is the phone itself. Iphone has inconsistent UI/shortcuts and lots of hidden gesture based inputs that you just got to know to be able to use. I'm really tempted to switch back but the google tracking keeps me away for now.
So there are some who are in the market for both :)
The developer cut/price of apps is really low on my list of reasons to switch from one to another though so you got a good point there. I'm actually trust an app that costs 100 NOK (€10) more than a 10 NOK one since they will have less incentives to do shady things.
But generally yes I agree that it can't be all that big a difference.
If those facts mean I’m counted as an iOS user once and Android user twice, the iOS me spends a lot more in the Apple App Store than the two Android mes put together.
I expect that developers for the Play store and App store are two sets with a big overlap
This is why my theory for this blatant copying is for regulatory reasons. The app stores are under scrutiny right now and it is best for Android, which has very large market penetration with the Play Store, to make it look like Apple is in control of the market. Just my theory.
- Situation is not at all the same as with iOS
- There is too much emphasis on friction-less low value installs and less on highly valuable things that users are willing to invest time and money on. Those apps would not survive without vendor-included single click app stores anyway.
I find this a little amusing because it's the exact reason why Microsoft lost their IE anti-trust case. Users were given IE by default, and because using something else required effort IE took a huge chunk of the market remarkably quickly. That was deemed to be violating their effective monopoly position on OSs to influence their position in a different market (browsers). Microsoft were made to add a screen in the Windows on-boarding process that gave users options about which browser they wanted.
Sometimes using user 'laziness' to maintain or gain market share doesn't work out so well for you.
So basically nothing.
IE could now be un-installed on Windows.
After various settlement fines in the US with several parties, the EU took it further and also leveraged its largest anti-trust penalty of that era. (~1 billion)
Microsoft were forced to share ALL their earlier private computing API's as open specs. MS word, excel formats, SMB, etc. This was amazing and resulting in several OSS libraries.
Why is this important?
That being said, I didn't know much about computers back then, so I probably messed up somewhere.
Google would not still exist without the antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft that scared them into playing it safe.
Also, Larry and Sergey's vision was an academic search engine that wasn't tainted by the mixed motivations of advertising. Since they built the world's largest ad company, it's fair to say they sold out their vision and mission and the first opportunity for a lot of money.
 http://infolab.stanford.edu/~backrub/google.html appendix A
In 1998 they were decidedly anti-ad, but after failing to monetize differently, I guess they caved in.
However, that anti-ad approach and an attempt to avoid the results being gamed with PageRank made hordes of "us" (geeks who were being called in to help others with their "computer problems") to get everybody to switch to Google Search.
But I doubt they planned all of that, especially not to turn their company into an advertising company.
Microsoft's obligation to do this ended in 2014 and now we're back to them begging everyone to use Edge.
Go check Wikipedia.
IANAL though :)
Technically Android is OpenSource.
De-facto - its not.
For many many years now Google is adding all non-os functionality into "support" libraries, "Google Services" - the name changes periodically - but the essence is the same: Making sure that any Android that is not "Google certified" won't be able to run Android apps - which all use these libraries - and won't have apps such as YouTube, Gmail, Photos come pre-installed..
I didn't know about it.
It is a huge undertaking, google has services from "simple" things like location, to complex things like face recognition.
Still, it makes 99% of apps work.
What is the most common preinstalled app store besides Google play?
It's not yet at iOS levels, but Google is actually getting there, I'm impressed. It's much easier to pull this off when you're a huge company making the hardware and the software and you can just boss OEMs and telecom companies around, it's much harder when you have a Microsoft Windows-like arrangement.
They're still at least 5 years from getting near iOS, but still... progress! :-)
Google's own security reports marketing usually only focus on the devices where they can sell a nice Treble picture.
Meanwhile most shopping malls in Germany still sell pre-paid phones with Android 7 and above.
In Android these days I find lot of finance app using some proprietarytechnology like google safety net. And most app are using google play services which again is closed source.
Android is not true opensource software ...
Where's a custom rom for my Blackberry Priv, for instance?
It's clearly written, a short read and gets interesting each subsequent page.
The android stuff begins on page 19.
User installable 3rd party app stores are cannot compete with the Play Store on feature parity because 3rd party app stores cannot implement automatic upgrades, background installation of apps, or batch installs of apps like the Play Store can.
Manufacturers fight against users' abilities to root or replace their OS on the phones they sell. There are thousands of models of phones that will only ever run their OEM installed ROMs, and there are millions, if not billions, of Android devices that cannot be rooted or won't run custom ROMs, and more are produced every year.
For over 90% (rough guess) of devices this isn't true.
ARM isn't an open platform like Intel/PC.
It's still about maximizing profit, even when they appear to be reducing it.
Google and Apple understand this well. Since small businesses account for a small % of their revenue, they simply offer a better deal to those small businesses. Now Spotify/Epic Games/Candycrush people will have to argue “but think of the large businesses!” That doesn’t have the same ring to it somehow.
The majority of App/Play Store revenue is protected from government intervention, and profits are maximised. Make sense?
You've chosen a difficult position to argue.
Would that extend to for-profit private companies? Employees? Sub 1m revenue app developers?
I thought you could do that for apps through the Play store. For example I pay for the Windy app through Paypal.
Google has actually changed their minds on that, and will start being Apple-level strict in September of this year: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/09/google-announces-cra...
To the degree that Google cares about developers, it is because of:
It's hard to retain Android developers already when there is less money to be had vs iOS, especially after Apple cut their take.
While Google's change is nice, it doesn't address the core issue at all.
Anyway, Google's hold on mobile ecosystems is really a menace. So much so that it's difficult to even tell apart Google Play the store, Google Play the service(s), Google Play the library(/ies), and whatever else they call by that name.
The truth is probably both are right in certain respects, and so Google finds itself now without many friends in the political sphere.
Due to a combination of Android user's reluctance to spend money on apps at all and the rampant piracy that Android's open model makes trivially easy, most developers only way to make money is through in-app advertising, which this change obviously makes no difference to.
Google Play is mostly a pyramid scheme. Developer's can only make money from showing ads and at the same time can only get downloads if they place ads on other people's apps. And Google just happens to own all the mobile ad companies.
This 15% cut ends up "costing" Google virtually nothing.
And as for Google "helping developers build sustainable businesses", the only times they've ever reached out to me were to offer me the opportunity to have someone help me spend thousands of dollars a month on mobile ads. Never, for example, to actually take down all the scam apps that use my app's name, icon and screenshots.
If you have a brand-name app like Runtastic, Netflix, Headspace or whatever, the platform doesn't really matter. You buy the product, because you want it.
It's probably different for utility apps like a different Camera, a photo editor, small productivity apps you need only once per month.
I'm happy about this change and it will definitely affect my bottom line in the range of several thousand euro per month – and I'm an indie dev.
Edit: I just looked it up and calculated the difference. I will make roughly 17,000€ more per year through this change.
There are tons of free crappy apps on Android, but for the ones that generate moderate value and are paid for because they are functional apps and not games or ad-ridden networking apps then this is a huge change.
The "vast majority" of developers might just not be making apps that benefit from this but its a bit misleading to say this isn't a good change or helpful. If anything it will incentivize people to perhaps look into developing more away from an ad model into a sustainable paid model (given the margins just got 100% better)
That being said, worldwide Apple only has 20% of the market now so while the average user is cheaper, there are quite a bit more users. That's probably why ad-based monetization also works a lot better on Android (more users).
People who choose the cheap option really don't do much discretionary spending, people with iPhones actually make up the majority of revenue for many apps.
When you're looking for a "Todo" app, there's 1000's on Android, and many or most are free. Many people might be better served by a quality app, but when the alternatives are good enough, it's a hard sell.
> When you're looking for a "Todo" app, there's 1000's on Android, and many or most are free.
There are also a massive number of "Todo" apps on the Apple app store. Searching for numbers online seems to indicate that there are about 50% more apps total on the Google play store than the Apple app store, but for the more common use cases that still means massive numbers of choices on each store, both free and paid.
Ridiculous allegation, which doesn't take into account the wealth inequality around the world. Hundreds of millions of people in the developing world have a smartphone today due to Android; a $1000 phone, or even a $400 phone is way out of reach for them.
So the "reluctance to spend money on apps" is that it's a choice between that and food on the table.
Also, very few people are side-loading apps - the rest are too tech illiterate to make that happen.
Add: I responded to your post because you're calling Google Play a "pyramid scheme". From fisherfolk trying to sell at optimal prices to daily labourers hunting for jobs, you've no idea how many people are enabled by the platform and its apps.
Firstly, I'm not sure the struggling to survive demographic are the ones giving devices to their children.
Secondly, kids (and adults for that matter) have been conditioned by the market to expect software for free. You can read all my reviews on Google Play to see how offended they are that stuff isn't free, with some even moaning that there should be video ads that will unlock the app for 30 minutes.
Thirdly, I've seen YouTube videos made by kids specifically giving instructions how to download my apps for free. In fact, generally you just need to sideload just one "alternative app store" and you're good to go. This isn't rocket science. It's following a few simple steps that aren't hard to find.
Finally, I'm making broad generalisations about the vast majority of app store activity. The existence of fisherfolk isn't relevant here. I know people are enabled by the App Store existing. I've been lucky enough to live comfortably for the past decade entirely because App Stores exist. I'm merely offering a few thoughts from the perspective of a long term app developer that some people may not have realised.
You will be surprised. It is common for India to own a smartphone but not a toilet. IT is also common for the entire family to use the same smartphone and as the working dad returns home the kid jumps on his phone to play his/her favourite game.
Google Play: 10 times the amount of downloads than Apple Store
Apple Store: 2.5 times the income of Google Play.
Reviews on Google Play frequently mention how everything should be unlocked for free. Apple reviews seem to focus more on what extra content they would like to see.
Piracy on my paid apps seemed to be way, way higher on Android.
Since kids tend to have more time than money, I'd also expect games/apps they use to have a higher degree of piracy, at least when it is relatively easy.
The existence of ad supported apps and services and free software is what allowed me to teach myself programming and graphic design in school. In HN's dream world of hundreds of dollars of SaaS subscriptions, this would not have been possible, or certainly more difficult.
Disclaimer: I work for Google
I don’t know what country you are from, but I’m guessing the “free”
vastly outweighed the “ad supported”. Furthermore, given the low ad revenue in developing countries, an organization seeking money probably could have gotten just as much by seeking a government grant or funding from a non-profit/NGO, and the whole process probably would have been easier in terms of securing revenue as well as app design (i.e., not having to design the app around ads).
I appreciate what you are saying broadly, but google ads doesn’t seem like the optimal way to facilitate this type of information creation and dissemination in developing countries.
Furthermore, Google has shifted from having “don’t be evil” as part of their code of conduct to straight up doing evil things. Trying to dress these actions up as being a boon for the developing world is approaching if not reaching the level of being a corporate shill. Again, there are better and probably easier ways to do this other than kowtowing to the Googlith.
I agree, a hypothetical universe with paid apps subsidised for students and for people from developing nations would be better, but I haven't seen this happen in practice (and it's difficult for the reasons I mentioned before - it's hard to ensure that it isn't abused.)
> I appreciate what you are saying broadly, but google ads doesn’t seem like the optimal way to facilitate this type of information creation and dissemination in developing countries.
I said nothing about Google Ads in my comment - the best example of an ad subsidised service that helped in this context would be Stack Overflow, who, AFAIK run their own ad network.
> Furthermore, Google has shifted from having “don’t be evil” as part of their code of conduct to straight up doing evil things. Trying to dress these actions up as being a boon for the developing world is approaching if not reaching the level of being a corporate shill. Again, there are better and probably easier ways to do this other than kowtowing to the Googlith.
I just wanted to share my personal experience here in the hope that folks here take the users I mentioned into account - whether that's through an ad supported business model, or subscription based business models that are affordable for them.
That's Android right now. Yeesh.
As for why you should do this: the opportunities created this way are good for everyone in the long term. See: all the companies started and being led by people from developing nations, in developed ones.
I think shimfish is talking more about a market's willingness to pay, which is a very different consideration. You can absolutely poison an otherwise viable marketplace by setting the buyer expectation to be free.
I think "reluctance to spend money on apps" is a big problem on Google Play outside of the population that must chose between a $5 app and food on the table. I've just seen a lot of grumbling among even affluent people about dropping a few dollars on an app when they'll easily spend 3x as much on a single drink. That's a problem in the perception of value.
I wonder if app prices could be more on a sliding scale by geography? Has that been tried?
I don't think the precise pricing is so much the issue though. It's more free vs not free.
Sometimes yes. But also, spending money on apps you dont need is not virtue. For that matter, spending money on stuff you dont need is not virtue in general.
At least according to this site, Google play moves $38B, while Apple moves $72B (annually). So people are spending money on Google play, just less. But I also believe more people have android phones vs iPhones, so that dilutes the per person revenue even more.
Also Play store has 1.5x more apps.
So almost 8x difference for developers. (per person)
Edit: It's great to see that this platform likes downvoting people who release their software for free. Profit matters above all else. I guess next you all will tell me my job is worthless and I suck at life because I make under $100k.
After a couple of years I decided it didn’t make sense to keep paying $100 to Apple every year just to host a small free app.
Maintaining the integrity of an app store is a very non-trivial task, and building an entry barrier in the form of developer fees is one way of doing it. Not saying this is the only solution or even a particularly good one, but every solution will have its share of unintended consequences and exploited armor chinks. Making dev accounts free for no-ads would be an interesting experiment, though. I'd support it for science!
If you’re not committed enough to releasing something with >$100 in value or not committed to releasing something high quality, the App Store doesn’t need you or your app - period.
As a user (and as a dev), I like this. The bar does not need to be lower.
Also if you look at a platform like Unity, the Hobbyist license is $25 a month and the Pro license is $125 a month.
As an Apple fan, I really wish that were true.
90% of what you find in the app stores of Google and Apple is fluff.
And yet I found a half of a dozen Chinese knockoff BonziBuddy clones on the Mac App Store.
Literally, it’s $8.33 per month to be a part of the Apple Developer program. If your app isn’t making that much in a month, then your app isn’t very good or you’re bad at business. No disrespect intended, but $8.33 as a cost of doing business is so trivial as to not even be worth mention.
I've been doing this for about ten years.
Now, my development time is worth a lot more than the accumulated $1000. But it's free time, and I volunteer it.
I also recognize the value of $100/yr as a "bozo filter" to Apple. But every year when they auto-bill me, I read the email and think about how it also excludes lots of good people from participating in iOS development.
It'd be great if there was a "NCA" class of app. No commercialization allowed. Always free, never ads, no in-app purchases ever. If all of your apps are NCA, your developer fee would be waived. This is probably too complicated for an Apple product though. :) And I think alternate App Stores or side-loading would be a net negative for the platform. So I pay.
What it does do is pay for all the app store infrastructure, IDE development, etc etc, so your choice to release something for nothing doesn't externalise those costs on others.
And $8/month is not trivial for billions of people. Consider yourself fortunate that you’re not one of them, but it’s useful to have a more global perspective when discussing the accessibility of a major platform.
I won’t work on free software. I have too much respect for myself, my family, and my colleagues to do that.
This is a strange attitude for me to see on HN, considering how much most of us love FOSS.
I can understand saying you don't have the time, or simply aren't interested, but to frame it as having "too much respect for myself" seems arrogant and spits in the face of the people who have written major software used in servers around the world.
I happen to like FOSS. It's voluntary after all. I have a bigger issue with how the industry interviews and assesses employees.
Who are you to tell someone how they should or shouldn't spend their free time?
Yes, many indie developers are bad at business, but they made good apps. Their month sells might one or two. They pay the $99 to Apples per year just to prevent their apps from being removed App Store.
Most businesses fail because they don't get customers... that doesn't make starting a business a pyramid scheme.
App stores are super saturated with apps, there's the reason you can't make money. If you can't and choose to use ads ... that's your business decision...
Sometimes I think the issue of fees and other issues including poor customer service from google gets tied up with the difficulty of even just making any money on the play store / a whole glut of apps that straight up most won't make money no matter what happens.
How about occam's razor instead: people who buy cheaper phones have less cash to spend on "premium" apps.
Respectfully, I would like a citation on this. How is piracy for Android any easier than say, Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux?
Desktops are a whole different kettle of fish, which is why profitable companies have (mostly) given up on selling software & are making money via SaaS approaches on desktop.
Market was willing to accept that, so there was no reason for them not to do it.
 Citations missing for my claims too! :)
(Anecdotal: gave my dad two hand-me-down iPhones. Because of the cost he was never going to buy one (on a fixed retirement income after all). Him and his wife having used iPhones now seem to have crossed over. I suppose I'll have to keep sending him over my old phones from now on.)
I'm not arguing if it is easier, I am asking how is it easier? That article does not answer how.
The rent is higher to get in to the AppStore, too, given you need a $100/year subscription and a Mac. Apple keenly understands aspirational marketing and it trickles down to apps.
Of course Android has millions of users that simply can’t afford to buy apps, but even among those that can, it is a psychological difference.
I think the portion of Android users that can't afford to buy an app is very, very small. It's no where near big enough to explain the difference between the two platforms.
> but even among those that can, it is a psychological difference
I think so too. Even people who are able to spend a dollar or two on an app are unwilling.
Apple's stuff feels better in the hand and I think that makes a user more willing to invest in it.
FWIW, I avoid free apps and apps with subscriptions as much as I can.
I wouldn’t say anything except this is twice you’ve brought this up out of the blue under one thread that I’ve seen and this isn’t even talking about the Apple ecosystem.
If it's true or not, I don't know. But my impression from using both platforms daily is that iOS paid apps are higher quality, in both design/looks and performance.
Because Android is the default phone, there are a lot of people who get one and then never install a single app on it because all they really wanted was a mobile phone and a camera.
While with Android even with most default roms it's just a matter of changing one setting in the options and transferring the pirated apk file to the device to launch it.
A much more straight-forward process with Android devices vs iOS devices and piracy strives on convenience.
Otherwise, this is a big win for small developers. Most developers probably don't approach the $1M cap, and all of them will see their fees drastically reduced.
Of course I'm cynical enough to view this mostly as a defensive measure against monopoly concerns, but that doesn't mean there's no benefit for many developers.
What do you believe, with respect to the app store, would be a more developer-friendly change? I'd like to see then allow developers to use different payment providers and not fight against alternate app stores that much. However for things that go through the play store even with a different payment provider, I think Google deserves some small cut for hosting all these apps and providing the platform. Something like a one-time fee for all paid apps or apps with paid content. It seems reasonable to pay them for use of their infrastructure in some form. Apps that make use of less of it-- like not using it's payment system-- would pay less.
But I do wonder if the problem doesn't lie in the fact that there are 5000000 apps and yours is just 5000001 that nobody is going to use. App market seems saturated.
Rule of thumb: No matter the distribution of devices across your users, the majority of revenues comes from iOS. Often supporting Android is almost not worth it.
I've seen a lot of mobile dev shops, and customers always want the iOS app to be the first on the market. Often the Android one is effectively a port.
MS-DOS cornered the desktop market around 1981. It remained the dominant desktop OS, despite being an utter piece of crap OS and technologically obsolete even at the moment it was introduced, until around 1990, when it was overtaken by products from the same company, Windows 3.1 and later Windows 95.
Windows 95 then took over in... 1995 :-) Windows is still the dominant desktop platform in 2021, and it will probably be for at least 1 more decade.
Linux took over server environments around 2005, I think, and its still dominating in 2021. It will probably dominate for many decades more.
Smartphone OSes are in the same place. Smartphones have matured, they're primarily slabs of glass/metal/plastic. You either get Android or you switch both hardware AND software and get iOS.
Android is almost free for manufacturers and customers, so it's even worse than Windows. How is it ever going to be displaced? Keep in mind that not even beauties such as Windows Me, Windows Vista, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 made much of a negative dent in the Windows marketshare.
Sorry, but in what concerns Europe, the desktop market was split across boring PCs with MS-DOS, Atari and Amigas, and in 1986 the option was still between ZX Spectrum and Commodore descendants, with most people migrating to 16 bit desktop systems around 1990.
In 1988, our computer club at the school just had a couple of newly bought Amstrad PC1512, where I got to play Defender of the Crown, with students having turns at the keyboard.
It'll cause some churn, and a lot of Google stuff will die, but it needs to happen.
Strangling the revenue pipe, while owning most platforms to ensure most people are forced through said pipe, is harmful to the greater internet ecosystem.
Google does amazing, great things. But they're funding them by dumping toxic waste out the backdoor.
Let's not even start with all the evil they've been doing in the recent years since Pichai Sundararajan took over.
Google has too much concentrated power and it is a monopoly.
Search + Ads alone, a browser, a DNS network, an OS, cars, cloud. It's just the tip of the iceberg.
And it's using its influence exclusively for their own advantage and to crush people who oppose them.
Prolonged campaigns for better terms can make a tangible difference, and we should be encouraged by this result to advocate for even better terms. It turns out that when they have real pressure, it is possible for Google and Apple to come up with better terms.
Keep in mind that the reason Google is being sued for antitrust isn't because it was taking 30% -- it's because it forced manufactures not to install or bundle any 3rd party stores by threatening to remove access to the Play store if any competing storefronts were enabled by default on consumer devices. So this doesn't change the original complaint, but it's still a very big win for smaller developers.
Sure, if you're Epic. For the rest of us minnows, we just have to play the hand we're dealt.
And if your point is that it took a company as large as Epic raising a fuss to get that change, well... why should I care? It's still a change that will help smaller developers.
Honestly, I don't get HN's position on this. When Epic sued, people complained that Epic was too big and progress would only be made if an ideologically pure company pushed for it. When conversation started talking about regulation, I heard people complain that it wasn't going to go anywhere and that regulators didn't care. Then when other companies like Hey and Microsoft started joining in making statements against current app store terms, people complained there weren't going to be any changes, that this was just a farce that would result in at best a backroom deal with Epic and/or Microsoft that wouldn't affect smaller devs.
Now there's a tangible policy change that will have a huge impact on smaller devs, and the complaint is that the wrong company had a role in it? What do you want?
The App/Play Stores are borderline anti-competitive due to the huge imbalance of power. A 30%->15% reduction doesn't change that. So while it's nice, the fundamental problem hasn't been solved.
What do I want? Pretty simple. I don't want to run my business at the whims of two unaccountable monopolies, and I want the option of extricating myself from their ecosystem. Specifically, this means:
- My choice of store/payment processor on both iOS and Google devices
- a clear, impartial and independent review process that determines whether or not an app's removal from the "official" stores was legitimate.
Ideally I'd also like direct installation ("sideloading") to be as simple as desktop software, but that's probably a bit of a reach.
Do note that while the Apple policy won’t benefit Epic, the Google one will.
Apple swaps from 15 to 30% cut when you reach 1 million. Google gets 15% from the first 1 million, then taxes the rest at 30.
Imagine you're 3 guys / girls and working on an app / game / .. whatever and one person only does "distribution" of the final asset. You are working one / two years or more on it, and one person only checks / verifies the final asset and organizes hosting. How is this in any way justified?
And the days that person made any marketing / visibility are long gone.
I think more "fair" is something like 5%, more in the line of what a payment processor does. Which probably, at this point does more than.
That is how things like anti-trust law work.
[These figures were approximately true some years ago in Italy]
Microsoft takes only a 5% cut if customers click on a link on my website with my referral code, taking them directly to the store details page.
Otherwise, they take a 15% cut.
> consumer applications (not including games) sold in Microsoft Store will deliver to developers 95% of the revenue earned from the purchase of your application or any in-app products in your application, when a customer uses a deep link to get to and purchase your application. When Microsoft delivers you a customer through any other method, such as in a collection on Microsoft Store or any other owned Microsoft properties, and purchases your application, you will receive 85% of the revenue earned from the purchase of your application or any in-app products in your application
Ie if I go to the store and search "Netflix", the store hasn't helped me discover that product.
That means no scary warnings and endless dialogs filled with FUD about malware and stealing personal data, or requiring non-technical users to understand and enable a checkbox hidden deep inside the settings app, or dedicating full-time teams of security researchers to finding and irresponsibly disclosing vulnerabilities in competing stores, among other things.
Because when there's competition, a fee structure like what the Microsoft Store has will naturally appear.
That’s less than the Stripe tax!
There was a story a couple of years back about how Apple's AWS bill was $30 million/month, I'd bet a large chunk of that is the App Store.
That's BS because they don't give you the option to host it yourself and avoid the fee, plus it costs them nearly nothing. $30 million/year dollars might seem like a lot until you realize Apple makes over $70 BILLION/year from app store revenues alone.
Also, what traffic? Organic traffic on app stores has always been terrible. In most cases, you can't even find an app by searching for it directly unless it's well-known like Netflix or Amazon. Even developers who have been "featured" over the years have reported a huge spike in traffic followed by an immediate fall-off and return to the same traffic numbers before the feature.
> In 2020, customers spent an estimated 72.3 billion U.S. dollars on on in-app purchases, subscriptions, and premium apps in the Apple App Store.
The App Store is a money printer for Apple, that's how low their operating expenses are. It's rent-seeking at its best, abusive landlords would be proud of them :-)
I said it about Apple and I’ll say it about Google: this is a PR move, nothing more.
Google really missed an opportunity here to put Apple in a tough spot by just cutting it to 15%.
Your biggest users of your payment infrastructure are also the most likely, most willing and most able to handle their own payments because they already do (eg Netflix, Epic).
If either company has reduced their cut to 15% for only their largest customers then this would make sense as a business decision. Doing the opposite is trying to stave off government intervention, nothing more.
The writing is on the wall for being the sole payments provider AND charging 30% for it. The only question is what they will be forced to do and (imho) you’re better off placating your biggest customers because they’re the ones who will likely sue you and lobby against you in the US/EU.
Why would Google want to start a bidding war here? They're both monopolies and they don't compete with each other. If Google lowers the fee to 5%, that's not going to convince developers (and their customers) to leave iOS for Android; it's just going to shift revenues out of Google's piggy bank and into developers' piggy banks in the best case.
In the worst case, it will increase anti-trust scrutiny, either because Apple doesn't lower it so they're showing they don't need to compete, or they do lower it despite it being an illogical business decision (and possibly inviting lawsuits from shareholders), suggesting that there's some collusion going on to stave off anti-trust regulation.
If I make $2 million on Apple i'll have to pay $600k in fees.
On Google it's $450k.
I assumed it wouldn't be that dumb. Is it really the case?
What is convoluted and worse? I am not a mobile Dev at this time, just going by what I see online.
Edit:  https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2020/11/apple-announces-app-s...
Your earnings after the first 1M in a calendar year will become subject to 30%. Your earnings before that aren't affected.
However, you are then kicked out of the program for the whole following year and can only reapply for the year after that if the next year's earnings are under 1M.
It only work for first year, subsequent year revert back to 30% if your previous year exceed $1M. ( the 1,000,000.01 problem )
Google also has a much more flexible definition of Services, Teaching to a group of Students via Video Call is not considered as Digital Services as on Apple App Store, and hence requires 30% of commission when signing up. ( And since been exempt after bad PRs )
Does Apple does not charge for Teaching to a group of students anymore?
2) and is "teaching to a group of students" just an example for teaching to groups, or does it really only apply to students and to groups, but not when teaching to one person interested in guitar for example?
PS: any good ressources that distill such App Store & digital services? (even better would be also comparing them)
This wasn't enforced or known until fairly recently  and finally got its public attention during pandemic. Those bad PR was what caused Apple to make concessions. Basically since 2018 Apple has been steadily Pushing these changes for their Services Strategy revenue target. If you look around on the Internet or places like MacRumours, you find a group of "Apple Apologist" who are perfectly in flavour of Apple charging 30% for these educational digital class.
>but not when teaching to one person interested in guitar for example?
Teaching one to one are exempt from sign up link. Which is basically a FaceTime Call. But that is only on the basis if the teaching is "live". If you are showing large quantity pre-recorded Video you might / will be counted towards "Digital Goods".
But again Apple Apologist thinks it is Apple's platform. They can do whatever they want.
Edit: I wanted to add some additional context. A lot of these were rules not previously enforced before 2016 / 2018. So App Store has been perfectly fine for many conducting online / digital business. And the App Store problem isn't just about the 30% commission.