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Apple is threatening to remove Fanhouse unless they give 30% of creator earning (twitter.com/jasminericegirl)
403 points by amrrs 14 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 572 comments

Per https://fanhouse.app/, "Fanhouse is the place where creators can monetize their social media personalities by posting freely about their lives, like a finsta, close friends story, or private alt, while connecting and engaging with their top fans."

So they built a platform, where they take some cut for themselves, while allowing other people to sell some digital contents on their platform. Apple built a platform, where they take some cut for themselves, while allowing other people to sell digital contents on their platform.

Other than the argument that this could be an anti-trust situation (i.e. in that case, the argument would be that Apple is abusing their market position), what differentiates these two cases ?

But then why doesn't Apple take a 30% cut of every Uber driver fee? 30% of every DoorDash delivered, etc?

Why is a platform for monetizing artists any different than a platform for monetizing your car?

Apple draws a pretty clear line, it's the difference between buying a book and an ebook. An ebook is delivered and consumed on your iPhone or iPad, a book is not.

Don't let Apple PR fool you into thinking commercial decisions like this are anything like principle based :-)

If Amazon, Uber and Lyft drop iPhone support, people will atop using iPhones and that's pretty much the only reason Apple doesn't charge them a commission.

You think people will stop using iPhones because a ride sharing app goes away?

Ever wonder what would happen to Uber and Lyft lost iPhone customers as a user base?

They would both suffer drastically. If it came to that, I’m sure other big companies would join in as well in an attempt to punish Apple ie Netflix,Spotify, and Epic Games

That could definitely put a hamper on new iPhone sales.

What about e-currency? They don't take a cut from coinbase.

What about Patreon?

Patreon probably gets by because a lot of Patreon rewards are physical items, or other services performed by the creator where Patreon (and by extension Apple) cannot guarantee will be received.

Meanwhile an app whose subscription model is “you get access to digital content” falls square within Apple’s IAP rules. I’m rather shocked Fanhouse got approved in the first place.

The fact that Fanhouse got approved means Apple's rules are arbitrary.

Not so arbitrary. If you are big and in the market Apple is not interested in, you are safe. Once Apple wants to step into that market, you should be careful (ex: spotify).

They draw a line between digital and physical purchases.

They don't force Netflix to pay them 30% either. The reality is they take 30% where they can overpower the other party. Where they are overpowered, they acquiesce.

This is because Netflix, knowing Apple would take 30%, does not allow you to sign up via an iPhone app. Apple takes 30% if you sign up via iPhone, not if you sign up via web and then use the iPhone app.

Netflix was able to do this because Apple carved out an exception for them by gerrymandering the rules so Netflix could do this. They did that because Netflix was powerful enough. Hey tried to do a similar thing, but Apple was having none of it. They were going to force them to pay them 30%, because they were not powerful enough. When the social media storm made them more powerful, Apple acquiesced.

The little tiny company I work for plays by the same rules. We don't support any subscription payments through either of the app stores, only through our website.

Every couple months Apple will reject us over it, but it always escalates and we always get approved.

Google at least allows us to link to our own website, but if you use our iOS app, you have to figure it out on your own if you want to subscribe.

wait, what was Netflix able to do?

Netflix does not allow you to sign up in their iOS app. You have to sing up and set up payment through their website, but you can use your username and password to use your subscription in iOS. They do not pay the Apple Tax.

Hey tried to use the exact same, but Apple said they MUST allow sign ups in the app, using in-app purchase API, and paying 30% to Apple. Apple was not going to allow Hey to do what Netflix/Spotify/etc have done for ages, until public sentiments and social media storm forced them to acquiesce.

audible - the audio book app also does not allow purchases in-app.

Fanhouse can just let purchases happen on web

if you read the twitter thread or the verge article you'll see this isn't true. fanhouse did disable in app purchases and force transactions via the web and apple threatened to pull their app unless they reenabled in app purchases

You mean Audible by Amazon.com, Inc.?

Yep that's correct.

Apple has always had clear exceptions for video, audio, magazine and newspaper apps.

"3.1.3(a) “Reader” Apps: Apps may allow a user to access previously purchased content or content subscriptions (specifically: magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video). Reader apps may offer account creation for free tiers, and account management functionality for existing customers."

It isn't because Netflix or Amazon are "powerful" enough, but that they saw that these were traditional multiplatform services.

I disagree with the ridiculous Hey situation (and note that Apple backed down), however let's be accurate.

There are two ways to look at this:

1. Apple has strong convictions about what it is entitled to proceeds from and what it is not. It is a coincidence that the things it believes it is not entitled to proceeds from are things that the powerful companies produce; things people would leave the platform for rather than live without, like Netflix.

2. Apple is throwing its weight when it can and acquiesce when it can's. That's why exceptions are carved for the likes of Amazon and Netflix without specifically naming them.

Apple's rules, as I have mentioned elsewhere [1], are too convoluted for the first explanation to make sense, at least to me. I fully understand if that explanation makes sense to other people, but I am convinced it is a matter of power.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27452865

It's just a arbitrary rule comfortable for Apple.

Yes, of course it is. And it's self-serving. Apple saw that they needed to have these cross-platform services -- from big and small and medium sized creators and businesses -- and they carved out exemptions.

Hence, the phrase "gerrymandering" the boundaries.

This is another thread where anything contrary the mob is going to hit -4, but here I am because such things are a bit fun.

I replied to someone specifically claiming that Apple made an exception for the all powerful Netflix, but that Hey was too small to get the same exception -- it's just big v small. In actuality Apple has a "gerrymandered" broad set of categories that are exempt (whether you are a garage company or a multinational), otherwise you have to provide basic functionality in your app without such a subscription. Hey didn't fit in the categories, and they didn't provide the functionality.

I may disagree with Apple on this -- and there should be an App label denoting that external subscriptions are necessary -- however phrasing and truth actually matters.

Welcome to getting downvoted for posting relevant facts that contradict the group narrative.

There are a core group of extremely passionate anti-Apple folks who seem to go through every Apple thread and downvote anything that doesn't have torch in hand. It's pretty silly, but whatever.

I just saw one of these guys sincerely claim that Safari was "notoriously outdated and incompatible with the modern web". It is beyond parody.

There was a thread the other day that seriously argued that Apple promised the App Store was "completely secure" (which apparently extends out to guaranteeing the honesty, security and operational practices of every business if they happen to have an app on the App Store). I took multiple -4 downvote sprees for pointing out actual fact and reality, and felt good that I at least wasted a bit of their time.

It's boring and below HN, but it's the reality we live with.

This is true, but it's still an exception made for their specific situation. Email app Hey tried doing the same thing recently, and Apple rejected the update and refused to push further feature updates until they removed it. It's a double standard, no matter how you cut it.

They also drew a line between in app and non in app transactions.

They did not just draw a line; they gerrymandered a line so Netflix would not leave App Store and Apple would not lose its income from smaller players while pretending it is a fair line in the sand. Even Marco Arment has commented on the ridiculousness of the complexity of the line. I highly recommend reading the link below.


Oh, I did not know all of that. I would agree those policies are ridiculous.

That post is from Sept. 2020, but Netflix (and Audible, Comixology + others) have been dodging the 30% cut for years simply by not allowing you to pay within the app. I'm not sure Apple had Netflix in mind with this change.

See my other comment here about Netflix:


I believe the majority of a Netflix subscriber's consumption is still on their TV, not on their iPhone/iPad.

But you also cannot pay for Netflix in the iPhone app. You have to do it on their website.

> But you also cannot pay for Netflix in the iPhone app. You have to do it on their website

The App Store explicitly rejects smaller apps that attempt to do this. See Hey, the email client that tried the exact same thing and got the cold-shoulder.

You can't pay Fanhouse on iOS, either.

I pay Netflix through my iPhone. I can manage the subscription along with my other iPhone app subscriptions.

That used to make sense in the early days of Smartphone era. Precisely because Digital have zero variable cost for each additional goods. And Apple wasn't very straight with those rules. They only enforce it on Software and Games, not services.

Now everything goes through your Smartphone. And the idea, to quote what Apple has been saying in court, they need to recoup those API cost. As they are using their API, they want a cut. Since the Apps for both Physical and Digital goods uses those API, and Digital Goods doesn't necessary use those API for creation. ( e.g I use Windows to create ), why are they only charging Digital Goods and not Physicals?

The only reason why Apple charges 30% of Digital Goods is because they know Digital Goods have zero replication cost. The cost of an additional Digital Goods is essentially zero, they want 30% of it. And Physical goods have basic unit cost. So they are charging base on the product margin. And this was clear in the Wordpess case, once they look at domain name registration where the whole industry is basically operating with 0% margin. Apple decide to put an exemption on it.

Then became a question, how did we arrive at 30% in the first place? If you look at Amazon Web Store, they have different percentage rate for different product? Why? Because they is how the market have worked over the years. They are basing the commission on current market rate / margin. Just like your Super Market has different margin for different product.

Ever since Apple decided on their Doubling Services Revenue by 2020, they have chased down every single 30% services. It is sad how much good faith they have burned.

Let me go even further. Why not get a 30% cut of every single credit card operation validated through that bank's iOS app? Why not get a 30% cut of every wire transfer done through that bank's iOS app? Why not get a 30% cut of every national tax declaration submitted through an iOS app? Neither of these is physical.

I actually wish they would do this. It just would go to show the power we are bestowing on these "gatekeepers" while governments keep pushing more and more vital services as "apps".

You've explained how those two are different, but not why Apple is entitled to money from digital goods but not physical ones.

Because that’s their business model which was stated by judge in Epic vs Apple case. Such types of business are legal for decades. You can’t change that for Apple by not damaging everyone else. Like Epic sells nearly same Fortnite skins for kids making millions and not allowing any independent designers to sell them in Fortnite skin market.

The difference is that Uber and Doordash have a lot bargaining power

Products and services in the real world have marginal costs.

Digital products and services have near-zero marginal cost, so they pay.

Because it's America and they can decide to charge whatever they want for their product?

People look for analogies to the App Store all the time. You can't compare App Store to anything else. You have a logical argument that frames two companies doing the same thing and pointing out the hypocrisy without taking into account their market shares, value provided for their fees or considered the fact that Apple developers target people that already paid for a device and the developer already pays fees to release apps via the App Store.

I think what developers want is a fair price for what they get out of the App Store and a choice to not use it if they want. Selling a $5 digital good or a $100 dollar digital good costs the exact same to Apple (minus the 2% credit card fee).

Fees aren’t about costs, they are about value.

This is all over the place.

Even with credit cards, it doesn’t cost 3% of something to process the fee. A $100 purchase yields $3 to the credit card and a $1000 purchase yields $30. It’s literally the same size data transfer. There’s some minimal additional cost for fraud/insurance but they don’t base their fees on direct costs.

Also, generally speaking, when there is some regulation forcing cost plus fees it makes things suck more (eg, water and power).

I'm all about pricing for value without regulation. But did the App Store lose half of it's value to developers when Apple decided to slash fees from 30% to 15% (for smaller companies)? I don't think so. Did a competitor to the App Store appear to try and compete for lower fees? No.

This is just the behaviour of a company that can change prices on a whim because they don't need to compete with other app stores after having established a large share in the market and controlling 100% of all third party app distribution.

> Fees aren’t about costs, they are about value.


The problem is the value is artifically high because it is basically extortion.

It is basically a protection racket: "you pay us and nothing bad happens to your app that you spent x years and y thousand dollars creating".

You can easily use another platform instead of Fanhouse (users can easily go on another website or app).

You can't easily use another delivery method for apps to iPhone users (that would require iPhone users to also buy and carry an Android device, which is a massive hassle).

Or use the web.

Telling people that the web is a suitable replacement for native apps is an empty promise, especially when your only option for a browser on iOS is one that is notoriously outdated and incompatible with the modern web.

"notoriously outdated and incompatible with the modern web."

There are a lot of anti-Apple arguments a passionate critic might leverage, but claiming that Safari is "notoriously outdated and incompatible with the modern web" is just foolish. It is laughable nonsense.

There is a lot of precedence that Apple is very reluctant to implement web-app standards, that could compete with the app store.

For some opinion pieces you can search for "Safari is the new Internet Explore"

Yeah, I saw the "Safari is the new Internet Explorer" argument. I, like many others, found it uproariously stupid. It betrays an authorship and readership that have literally no clue what the IE era was like. Just some sort of "IE bad" cudgel bit of pandering rhetoric.

It is whispering to a very specific audience.

And through all of this, the most remarkable thing is that Safari is hugely over represented among web visitors, both from iOS and Macs. It's almost like providing an extremely fast, light, energy efficient, feature rich browser encourages its use.

Has Apple added support for web apps yet? They were around for years now, that would be a prerequisite for switching to web.

Apple added support for iPhone web apps in 2007, including native-style widgets and touch navigation support in mobile Safari. This was enough to support many early games and apps, and Apple even had a curated directory for them.

At the time, developers complained bitterly that Apple didn't provide a native SDK, nor did they support Flash or Java web apps.

In 2021, mobile Safari is good enough to run Amazon Luna game streaming, so you can actually stream fairly demanding games like Far Cry 6 to an iPhone. However, Safari (and, to a lesser extent, Firefox) is far behind in terms of feature parity with Chrome for implementing Google's vision of Progressive Web Apps. In particular, Apple has announced that they don't intend to support a number of web APIs (Bluetooth, NFC, etc.) for privacy and security (and presumably business) reasons.

I build PWAs, there are main features I wish I could see on Safari/iOS.

1: Some kind of guarantee they're not going to randomly purge my assets/data to get some disk space back. I want to provide a good offline experience and not require a network connection. 2: Notifications, which has been requested for Safari every year for a decade. This is willful neglect and not esoteric new-in-chrome functionality or a security risk.

Apple did finally move WebRTC over from regular Safari to WebApp last year (Not every feature in mobile Safari is available as a WebApp). Finally! This opens up new potential. If they did the two above I'd be reasonably satisfied with the platform's capability.

I remember how Jobs was „attacked“ in an interview for not supporting adobe flash. They said it was because of his history with adobe, but jobs repeated all the time that HTML5 is going to be the future and adobe flash is old technology that has no future.

I understand the critique about their app store policy. But if you don‘t like their policy, don‘t build a „business“ depending on it. Or find a way around it. But stop crying in public and play the victim. Be creative, just like the people who invented the things our businesses rely on.

> Other than the argument that this could be an anti-trust situation (i.e. in that case, the argument would be that Apple is abusing their market position), what differentiates these two cases ?

Well I think you already explained it. One is a company large enough to effectively dictate the terms of the market and thereby practically tax every other company.

The other is a small tool among many others.

Does fanhouse also sell access to their “platform” to the users at $600 a pop minimum?

It’s a meaningless comparison because they are completely different kinds of platforms.

The vast majority of the world will never hear of Fanhouse and it’s competitors’ platforms. The vast majority of the world can literally not live their lives without Apple or Google’s platforms.

There is no comparison between the 2.

This. She is operating a platform for creators…that is literally what the AppStore is. She knew the rules when she started playing this game, and wants to appeal to emotions and hyperbole like this is an issue between “life and death”.

Why does she get to keep 10%? It’s arbitrary. What if I want to start an app that helps creators manage their Fanhouse content? Should I ask Fanhouse for a cut of their fees so that I can pass on 90% of gross earnings to creator?

> She knew the rules when she started playing this game

Knowing the situation is not the same as accepting it. Just because I know a couple of large actors control the market does not mean I have to accept the situation.

It does mean you shouldn't bet your business on winning that fight

Per definition the existence of the business depends on entering the fight.

If you engage with those actors accepting the terms that is exactly what it means.


You can't meaningfully accept terms when they are a requirement to enter the market.

If it's a requirement to enter the market, why wasn't it considered when developing the business model?

This is absurd. In any other situation you’d never argue this.

Ok, so I can just ignore all regulations because I don’t like them? I can sell unsafe food in my restaurant because I don’t want to agree to the terms the government says I must adhere to?

It's not absurd. Have you never heard the term "contract of adhesion"?

And contracts aren't the same as laws and regulations, so throw that strawman out. Laws and regulations are enacted through a process designed to serve the greater good.

They are not required to accept them, OnlyFans is doing it just fine without Apple. They chose to be in Apple's platform. Voluntarily.

What market? The market of iOS users?

There are literally more users on Android - If I were in that position, I could just switch platforms.

If I'm a radio manufacturer, I can't cry foul that Lamborghini won't allow me to sell my radio in their cars by calling them a monopolist over the "market of Lamborghini drivers."

If I then decide to still make an exclusive Lamborghini radio, I own that responsibility for my failed business model.

Apple is a mega-monopoly that has captured 50% of Americans that use computers, and then installed taxation in front of all of it.

Businesses can't business anymore. It is beyond unhealthy for startups.

It's all a scam. All a ruse. And we're all victims.

Computing was never like this before Steve Jobs decided to ban literally everything and force people to live within his death star.

I can't believe how many folks within our industry are fine with this! You owe your career to free and open computing. As does Apple. They've just managed to gaslight us for so long that we're apologizing for the horrible things they do.

Break up Apple or allow people to install directly from the web. Don't let Apple enforce their payment rails.

They have enough goddamned money.

Wonderfully put.

I am guilty of helping perpetuating this situation by acquiescing and buying my wife/mother Apple gear.

I won't do this anymore.

She gets 10% if creators choose to use her service as opposed to the dozens of other similar services, some of which charge more and some of which charge less. Hence, there is no antitrust issue.

OTOH, App developers don't get a choice for iOS. They must use Apple's payment system. They don't have a variety of payment processors to choose from. There is no market determining whether 30% is fair, and that is why antitrust regulations may apply.

What if I want to start an app that helps creators manage their Fanhouse content? Should I ask Fanhouse for a cut of their fees so that I can pass on 90% of gross earnings to creator?

That is how many B2B relationships actually work; you've described a referral arrangement in which one company refers a paying customer to another company and in exchange for their referral they get paid a percent of the revenue derived from it.

> OTOH, App developers don't get a choice for iOS.

The choice is to not use iOS. You’re argument is predicated on using iOS, which is a false equivalency.

you can make the same argument for netflix, amazon, or anything that involves any type of transaction, even your uber...

If she is using the app store payments, then fine. But if she is not using it, then that is a problem.

Yes, which is precisely what she should do.

There doesn't even need to be a difference. Platforms need to have a way to allow nested platforms, or we will lose a lot of economic output to the platform tax.

If a company that helps monetize social media personalities goes out of business, meh.

One of the replies from the founder: >We removed the ability to subscribe in app, but Apple still required us to do their 30% or would remove our app. However, if you do have the current app, it's not yet subject to Apple's 30% and all creators still will receive 90% of their earnings. Web will also remain functional


This is what I largely have a problem with (I personally don’t care about the 30% either way) why can Patreon, a similar service, do this but This app can’t?

Maybe it's been grandfathered in? But isn't it already the status quo for Apple to selectively give favorable treatment to bigger operators? Prime Video's app previously disabled in-app buying, but at some point in the past year they made a deal with Apple:


> Apple and Amazon very, very quietly unveiled a monumental app deal this week, without fanfare or, sadly, much in the way of transparency. Out of nowhere, buttons to buy or rent movies appeared in the Amazon Prime Video app. It’s difficult to express how strange this is: for over a decade, Apple has stuck to the rule that all digital goods sold in iOS apps must use Apple’s payment methods, including Apple’s 30 percent cut.

Why is everyone consenting with this favoritism?

Isn’t that program enrollable though? There’s a thing to beta roll out a feature to select apps and then have it as an API or program.

The approach others have done is to charge 30% more for in-app purchases and offer the ability to purchase on web for a discount (but not advertise the latter).

Serious question, why does everything require an app? Why can't the same thing be accomplished via the mobile web? I get so tired of being prompted to install apps when you could just *show me the damned web page*. Anything that requires speed can be done via webassembly, and sure, anything like games can ship a native app.

Because Apple is intentionally limiting the mobile web to force your hand to create an app.

I've been working on hardware that we've been trying to ship using open technology for the protocols so it doesn't need apps. So focusing on things like WebBT and WebUSB which is almost magic, a user can unbox your device go to a website and then do anything you'd possibly want with. But yeah all falls apart the second it needs to work on an iPhone and you're back in the world of having to build an app.

Whole thing works flawlessly with just a webdev team on computers and android devices but because of Apple to ship this vision we need to build a solitary iOS app too.

I say this as an iPhone user too, unfortunately I feel too locked into their platform to leave now.

Is there anywhere I can try out this application?

Nothing I can show of it yet, but I encourage you to look into the WebUSB and WebBT APIs with an open mind.

I know a lot of HN users don't like them because they see it as a gateway to fingerprinting, not sure how much truth there is to that but for me I see there is a huge benefit to devices being able to communicate with our computers over open and understandable protocols.

Currently today, say you buy an IOT device you have to download a smartphone app. On a long enough timeline that smartphone app will stop being updated and then eventually it will stop working after an OS update, especially if its iOS and then at that point the device basically becomes landfill fodder.

If it were WebUSB or WebBT you just need to ship a web page, there is a greater chance that web page will still work down the line with newer browsers, if it doesn't rely on a server you could even archive that web page and at least it's easier to reverse engineer. Not to mention the web app will work on Linux too, no need to ship platform specific executables.

For me WebUSB and WebBT are great moves towards more sustainable and maintainable hardware.

Oh, I know this one! Because Apple made Safari the new Internet Explorer to force you into their walled garden where they extract their tithe.

I can't stand building for iOS Safari. It is the pain-point in so much of my development.

It's hard to do photo/video/media integration on a web page. There no good way to interact with the filesystem to share content, start a livestream, etc. UIKit also make it pretty easy to create layouts that work well on your phone with swiping gestures.

I am an app developer that would love to move to a mobile web app but those are the problems that I am running into at least. If web assembly can accomplish all of that then I just am not well educated enough to use it instead.

Your service not having access to my data is a feature. It's one of the primary reasons I prefer websites over apps.

what if the service is a way to manage your data? In my case its a photo library alternative for fitness photos/videos. Take a picture of your handstand every month and store it locally in the app documents folder or on PhotoKit so that you can see improvements over time (nothing is stored in the cloud). I don't know of a way to do that on a mobile website.

I wish you well.

I wont be a customer because I don’t care enough about my looks or fitness to get into daily photos. But, really, what does your app offer over the photo gallery and folders already on my phone?

I personally like keeping it separate from my phone's photos/video folders. You can also add notes/rep counts and add links to useful workouts you find online.

What personal data (that you didn't explicitly provide or allow access to) does an app have access to that a website doesn't?

There's a million things they can do. Permissions aren't that fine-grained, and the apps always have ways to infer a lot of stuff. Heck, they can even make background tasks, while if it's a website I know that if I close the tab your tool is gone.

There's a whole range of things that an app can do/infer on a system that a web page in a browser can't.

Things like processes that are running, RAM, battery life, and more.

I don't know about iOS, but the file picker on Android is fine. Live streaming through Javascript is also no harder than live streaming through native libraries. Granted, there may be less "official" SDKs out there because the web is an open ecosystem, but still.

Jitsi and Kickstarter have quite competent streaming systems. I remember being amazed by the incredibly low latency the Kickstarter streaming system has (always sub 100ms between camera and my screen across the Atlantic with good quality!).

An app for uploading images and videos, writing text posts, receiving payment and streaming video doesn't need a native app. If there is a choice between giving an absurd percentage to Apple or building a web version, the web version makes a lot more sense.

However, even if they build out a web version right now, Apple will refuse any update pointing users towards the web version of any app because that goes against their TOS. That will make any switch quite difficult.

Even if technically all SDKs had an equivalent, a PWA never, ever feels like a real native app. All the difference is noticable. It's all the slight details, gesture and touch handling, and few more, but they all sum of and it feels laggy.

I think people are used to just scrolling to an icon on their home screen and tapping on it, and companies like Apple/Google don't really like the idea of PWAs because they lose control over the developers and walled garden ecosystems they have created

Developers will optimize for what feels natural to the user, i.e. installing an "app" which doesn't require typing an address in the browser or scrolling through bookmarks

Also some companies from the developer side will want that extra user control that you don't have in the browser, for example to track them more, play unskippable ads, or access to some native features on the phone which are not available in web apps

Google actually pushed for the PWA and did/does things to support them. It’s largely Apple that has made them more difficult/impossible.

Chrome supports installing web apps to your home screen, though clearly even among the HN crowd that is not common knowledge.

Apple doesn't support a lot of modern web api or the api they provide is crippled. just few examples: there is no full screen mode Web api on iPhone - only on ipad - games pretty much require those.

There is no web push notification support on ios - only on desktop safari.

Because apple deliberately hobbles mobile safari so that you need a native app to get real stuff to work. Google talks the talk for web apps but still falls far short. And why not? They are making so much money by not actually supporting web apps. It's in both companies DNA now.

Apple intentionally hobbled mobile web for a long time on iOS to incentivize people writing a native app over just making a webapp.

onlyfans is doing just fine in this space. They didn't want to worry about app store TOS or % cuts and decided to be web only.

While a good example of a web app that could've been a native app, there's a strong argument that they didn't decide to be web only as much as forced due to the nature of their content never being allowed in the app stores.

Yeah, the online gray area companies like porn and gambling are the ones largely holding up the web at this point.

We're building a mobile app because our users demand it.

>Serious question, why does everything require an app?

An App button on your home screen is zillion times better for 95% of user than a web address.

If Apple allowed one click installation of Web App. ( Not clicking on Safari settings and add Site to Home Screen button ). Or Scanning a QRCode to download a Web App.

Along with adding all the missing Web App features to Safari that could be enabled only for Web App and not Web browser.

That would have been fine by me. This is borderline as good as side loading.

>An App button on your home screen is zillion times better for 95% of user than a web address.

I can create a button on my home screen that will take me right to a web page with one click (on android, I'm assuming you can also do this on ios)

Nowadays even most games are casual games that can also be run on the web easily. I'm personally making my first game and it's going to be delivered through the web. Crossing my fingers that people actually appreciate the lack of a download and the cross-platform support out of the box.

I’m wondering if native mobile apps are doomed to disappear as the web and mobile Browsers meet in the middle, the same way everything was a native app for quite some time in desktop land and now everything is a webapp.

If you watch Apple they're doing everything within their power to make sure this doesn't happen.

Current day because they've neglected Macs so much over the past few years your Mac is now mostly just a shell to run a jumble of electron apps (I used to love Mac Cocoa apps but can't even name one that has launched in the past 2 years) but if you follow what they're doing they'd prefer it if it was a selection of iPadOS apps instead.

Doubt it, mobile phones have only increased in features. More features, more likely need native app.

What incentive to does Apple have to make people use apps less and the web more?

What features? Not every app needs access to your camera.

Apple doesn't allow third party web browsers on iOS so native apps are the only viable solution until that changes.

My guess is that this will be the subject of a lawsuit at some point.

Usually for proper push messaging and background processing

Those have been part of the web standards for ages (serviceworkers, web notifications).

Correct me if I'm wrong (I'd actually love to be wrong), but browsers don't let you do silent pushes, and background data fetches are pretty limited, which makes it hard to do something where the phone gets updated frequently with non-urgent data, so that when you open the app/page, you have current data regardless of connectivity when you open the app, assuming you've got at least intermittent connectivity.

Weather, headline news, sports scores, non-urgent messaging could really use silent push to get data synced whenever you want to use it, but clearly not with Safari on an iPhone, and I don't think you can do it on Android without an app either.

Push is supported by all competent browsers, which of course excludes Internet Explorer, Android WebView (the shitty built-in one) and Safari (iOS and desktop) [0]. Firefox (on every platform but iOS) even supports a limited amount of silent pushes. I personally wouldn't want silent background pushes to an installed web app anyway, I don't see what data is important enough to sync but not important enough to notify about. Such a mechanism would absolutely ruin the device's battery life.

Google, being Google, have developed a Background Sync API [1] that can achieve background sync without notifying the user. This also extends to Edge and Opera and such because they share an engine.

I can see the use in a system where you sync data to a device that has intermittent connectivity, but I've honestly never seen such a system work for native apps when I've had intermittent connectivity myself. Even Google's automatic weather notifications don't show the right weather until I tap then and a web search loads.

Your background sync requirement is a nice to have and it'd certainly be a reason to use the app instead of the web version of a service for users with limited connectivity, but they're not really strict requirements for most applications. The applications we use today mostly consist of scrolling and connected browsing, with some data management and sync in between. For example, I browse twitter through the web app and outside the "fleets", whatever they are, that Twitter simply decided not to port, I'm not missing anything. I get notifications, I can browse, I can compose, there's really nothing more I need.

In the end, Apple's (intentional, probably) nerfing of Safari is what primarily stands in the way of proper mobile app support on the web. Notifications are a feature that I'd say most apps would require these days and Apple simply refuses to allow them. There's plenty of other WebKit gripes that developers have to overcome to program for iOS, but the complete lack of certain features is absolutely the worst.

[0]: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/Push_API [1]: https://developers.google.com/web/updates/2015/12/background...

Nitpick: background processing doesn't generally kill battery life because the platform API's provide guardrails around how long/frequent you can run, and batches as many wakeups together as possible. You essentially have a runtime budget you deplete as you run.

That said, you're right that most apps dont truly take advantage of background processing. What you have to understand is that the lack of background processing is what keeps notifications unsupported on iOS. Not only can you not support push messaging natively, but you can't _replicate_ a push messaging system either because there's no way to run code when your webpage/PWA isn't in the foreground.

Why the heck do you need to be constantly pushed headlines, sport scores, and non-urgent messages? Just make them load fast, so when you only use resources on the device when the app is actually in use.

It's exactly this kind of wasteful resource usage and the accompanying notification spam that drives me to avoid native apps in the first place.

Because I want to use these things when I have no connectivity. And I don't always plan ahead for no connectivity.

Given where I live, my big one is ferries. When I get on the ferry, it's a nice time to see what's going on in the world, and what the weather will be like, and maybe check work email (before I retired), but I can't do any of those in an online only world because cell coverage is very spotty. For the small handful of apps that manage a data store on the device, I can use those and catch up on things and queue outgoing messages. I'd like to make some more things for me, but native Android development is beyond my patience, and PWA doesn't have the capabilities, and some horrible blend of the two is what's wrong with today's world :p

"Proper" app development treats the network as optional. Its surprising how spotty connectivity is in the real world, and so its a huge UX boost to load data predicatively when possible (not to mention that running offline-first is a magical experience for the user).

Web notifications don’t work on iOS and I’m assuming Android as well? Serviceworkers aren’t woken up in response to a background push if your phone is lock and not on that webpage.

From a user standpoint, Web Notifications work quite well on Android. When using Chrome for Android (Chromium), each site is assigned a separate Notification Channel so users can change notification priority or block notifications. Firefox for Android (Gecko) works similarly but without Notification Channels.

Web notifications work fine on Android. Has Apple still not fixed notifications then? I was under the impression that they claimed to have massively improve Safari during last year's conference?

AFAIK web notifications do not exist on iOS.

OK, well iOS doesn't adhere to the standard, which means most of the US mobile device market does not support it.

Yeah, not supported on iOS.

Well, there was technically that iOS wallet/pass trick - dunno if it's been plugged tho.

Otherwise, yeah.

not on mobile safari

Right, and for those who aren't aware, that means not on any iOS browser since they all (are required to) use safari under the covers

With apps, publishers have more control, compared to webpages. For example, it's harder to block ads, or specific components of the page.

Many features aren't available on the web. e.g. web midi isn't planned on being worked on anytime soon by the webkit team. Also, iOS Safari browser updates constantly break/maim apps. e.g. iOS 14.4.x all had real time audio processing issues that weren't fixed until iOS 14.5.

Wrong question

How timely for Instagram’s CEO to say the quiet part out loud and announce that they’ll be helping content creators to get around Apple’s 30% cut today:


I think Zuckerberg was right when he said Apple’s practices have ultimately benefited Facebook in eliminating any competition.

I think these content creators have it too good, they're only taxed about 30% by the government, and 30% by social media platforms, and only 30% by hardware platforms. That's a whole 10% they're left with! Those content creators should pledge 30% of their net earnings to worthwhile causes. It only makes sense.

Besides, look at how much they're earning gross to begin with. A whole $0.99 per app, and $0.04 per click on advertisements! These people are rolling in it.

They're actually left with 34% if you do the math correctly.

Don't forget to account for floating point rounding errors.

I just checked and I'm surprised Patreon has an iOS app. I wonder how they're dodging this type of shakedown.

People in the comments are right so far that this could be just a website, but I think we can turn that around and say that Apple is not providing any services that the developers of Fanhouse really need or want. They just want to be on the store, and all the services and APIs Apple provides aren't really features as long as developers are forced to use them.

That's a nice business you got there. Shame if anything were to happen to it.

Does anyone know to what extent Apple differentiates between in-app purchases and subscriptions? I've heard Netflix and Spotify do not give Apple 30% because, well, that'd be kind of ridiculous for these companies to give 30% of their revenue to Apple.

But what about mid-sized companies? I pay a yearly subscription fee to Headspace. If Apple is actually taking 30% of their revenue because people access it via an iPhone? That... just doesn't seem sustainable.

You can't subscribe to Netflix and Spotify on the App Store anymore. It was possible for a while, where both just handed the costs down to customers. E.g. when Spotify costs 10$ on their site, it used to cost 13$ when purchased through Apple.

I know Spotify stopped supporting in-app purchases when Apple Music came out, because even though both services are priced similarly, from within the Apple ecosystem it seemed that Spotify costs 30% more. And of course because of the anti-steering provisions for Apps, Spotify couldn't even tell iOS users that Spotify is cheaper when you visit their site.

if you pay that subscription fee via the app store then apple takes a 30% (or possibly 15%, in a few scenarios) cut

Something seems a bit sus here. There's a whole lot of "I'm poor and on food stamps, relying on my brand new company to pay me as a creator". Are they even "creating" on the platform? Seems like they're some kind of middleman for every other service kind of like hootsuite or something. Have they cleared that 1 million 15% threshold already in 8 months?

I must be following 50+ iOS developers on Twitter and none of them have liked this tweet. It's surreal. I feel like people are afraid of Apple's retaliation if they like this tweet.

I find the creators livelihoods lines to be attention grabbing and muddying the waters about what this argument should be about.

The Netflix exemption should be available to all apps - that point is what the Epic lawsuit should be about (they've confused the issue too by talking about having their own app store). Apple could then fight for developers to use Apple Pay on its merits in the marketplace.

In the case of Fanhouse, the rules were well known (and disliked) when they started. They should have created their product as a web app - their particular use case is one where the technical limitations of a web app wouldn't have been much of an issue.

If they felt so strongly that their product had to be in the Apple App store to succeed, they are justifying Apple's 30% cut.

Jasmine from Fanhouse is likely to get a speaking slot at the upcoming Congressional hearings on Apple.

It would be interesting to hear how she wants to make money on Apple platform by not following the rules and not paying fees for access to Apple user base. It seems zoomers live in alternative version of Universe where everyone is owing them something.

"Paying fees for access to Apple's user base" is called an "illegal tie-in sale" in antitrust law.[1]

[1] https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-a...

She, the fanhouse app owner, only takes 10% from the content creators

It doesn’t really matter. Apple takes 30% since rules are for all. You can do your business on Android in 3rd party store or without store and don’t pay any fees. But Android users are poor by statistics and no one is using sideloading or 3rd part stores in US. That’s why she hates Apple - they built successful and platform by investing billions and now someone wants to exploit it for free.

There is a culture, that has remained in place since the time when Apple was about to go bankrupt, to try to keep every penny possible. This corporate culture literally saved the company from its death (remember the Bill Gates Borg appearance on the giant screen in ‘97?) but it’s becoming a bit much now.

Apple should have been pulling every trick in the book to help this young female entrepreneur build a digital platform — she’s exactly the sort of person we need in a leadership role in that industry. Instead, they’re killing her business — what? This goes beyond “the rules” ... It’s time for their culture to evolve.

> We have creators who are unemployed from the pandemic. We have creators who need to pay rent, to pay tuition, to pay medical expenses, and they need their income to survive. Apple's 30% directly threatens their livelihoods.

Does anyone find this reasoning disingenuous? "Will you think of the [children or other unprivileged group]?" Is Apple morally obligated to give money to people with harder lives? It weakens her whole argument. Jasmine knows this. She used to be on OnlyFans which has no app, and is an Ivy League (UPenn) grad. She's trying to keep her cash while making an emotional appeal.

Yes, I find it disingenuous. It's bullshit and manipulative. I don't feel like Fanhouse is the second coming of Jesus.

It's a shame that these companies can't even vote with their feet because Apple users are too lucrative as a market.

Hell of a position to find yourself in as a business.

Hmm... This is interesting. Did the terms of the contract change? I'm not an app developer and I know that Apple takes a 30% cut.

Down in the thread, they compare their platform to Patreon, which has an app. Exclusive content is a substantial part of Patreon.

I'd like a straight-forward explanation of why Patreon is allowed to avoid in-app payments. It seems like a straight-forward violation of apple's rules. Apple having its rules is one thing, but applying them unevenly seems like a problem too, since it protects a whole host of 'grandfathered' businesses from competition.

If you are big enough the chance of getting hit by this diminishes and if you do get hit you can make a deal (like Amazon does) to pay less. Rules are for plebs and apps Apple think it might copy some day.

fanhouse is a SFW platform where creators can monetize their social media presence by posting about themselves and their lives

1. Why would creators using fanhouse get to bypass Apple’s tax?

2. Why is this being treated differently from Kindle, which allows creators to distribute content via an app offered in the App Store without paying 30% of ebook price?

2. Fanhouse not only has one off transactions but things like pay to view pictures of someone etc

How does Fanhouse work?

> We pay creators 90% of earnings. Now, Apple is threatening to remove Fanhouse from the app store unless we give them 30% of creator earnings.

Apple doesn't know anything about how much Fanhouse gives to creators. They just want their 30% (15% up to a million) for digital content transactions made within the app.

If someone pays $10 in the Fanhouse app then Apple is going to ask for $3 (or $1.50 if they haven't made $1 million so far this year or last year).

I understand that Fanhouse wants to give $9 of those dollars to the creator. They can, but they still owe their fee to Apple. Unfortunately that ends up being more money than the whole transaction so the economics just don't work.

What amount is fair for Apple to charge for payment processing and the infrastructure to actually make the purchases?

> What amount is fair for Apple to charge for payment processing and the infrastructure to actually make the purchases?

They can charge whatever they want as long as they give developers the alternative to use a different payment provider. See Discussions around exemptions for Netflix for instance.

What exemptions does Netflix have? They aren't using their own payment provider since you can't actually pay for anything from within the app.

> What exemptions does Netflix have?

Netflix is exempted from mandatory usage of Apple's payment platform. OP stated that Apple is threatening to pull the app if she does the same thing that Netflix gets away with: avoid using Apple's payment platform, and set up payments outside of the app. For a company that loves demanding its partners adopt Most-Favored Nation clauses, Apple sure does hate treating its app developers the same.

Netflix doesn't take payment in its iOS app as far as I can find.

They are allowed to take payment on their website for a subscription, but so is any other developer.

>so is any other developer

No, they are not. That was what the whole Hey debacle was about. Netflix and Spotify have special privileges there.

I do remember seeing articles about Apple "requiring" Hey to allow signing up in the app, but I'm not sure if Apple relented or if it was just a misunderstanding. Hey does not currently take payment in the app.

> but I'm not sure if Apple relented or if it was just a misunderstanding

the replies to your comments are literally telling you the true story, at least do your own homework

I can find nothing on the Internet about Apple bowing to Basecamp and allowing Hey to use their own payment processing.

I did however download the Hey app and try to sign up for a paid account, which you can't do.

the twitter thread/verge article are about how this is not true for fanhouse, at the very least.

It's not clear from the Twitter thread what Apple is asking for. They're definitely NOT asking for a share of creator proceeds but they may be asking for Fanhouse to have a way to subscribe in the app.

I downloaded Fanhouse and tried to view some profiles. It says "Follow to see more" but there's no way to follow anyone in the iOS app. I can see this running afoul of some App Store guidelines since you're advertising a feature with no way to use it.

This could be Apple being unreasonable, but it could also just be a misunderstanding of how the App Store review process works. I don't know how long they've been going back and forth with Apple on this.

> What amount is fair for Apple to charge for payment processing and the infrastructure to actually make the purchases?

Just that? Probably about 3%.

If they're not stacking more fees on top then even 5% wouldn't be an offensive number for payment processing and would give them tons of profit.

Seems pretty disingenuous given they had to have known this would happen (note that OnlyFans has no app)

OnlyFans wouldn't be allowed in the App Store since it is essentially pornography. I am curious if they would given the chance, but they can't

Reddit allows pornography in the app if you've chosen NSFW setting. How OnlyFans is different?

Because Reddit is old and big. Banning it would piss off lots of people.

It's the same reason why Chrome, Safari, Firefox etc can get away with it, despite clearly having accessible NSFW content.

This is the real reason. Notice that there’s no real 4chan app on the App Store, even though it has both SFW and NSFW boards, just like Reddit. Apple will bend their own rules depending on who they’re applying them to, they have zero integrity.

Primary purpose. You can build a web browser that can load porn, but that’s not the raison d’etre of a web browser. Similarly Reddit is far more not porn than porn.

The risk of a porn story and counter-narratives of non-porn utility. Shipping and trucking has a risk of a trafficking story, but it has much weightier counter-narratives of salient utility.

reddit would likely get rejected by the app in today's enforcement environment. discord was recently forced to disable nsfw channels in the ios client

Number of users

Loudness of users

This makes me curious is Onlyfans has a PWA. Really wish more websites did this going to go check right now.

Can confirm it does. Functions just like a normal app (user side) and since it doenst have any offline features there’s not any friction I can see a see as user.

I wonder if there’s a way for Safari to display a Add to Home Screen Option App Banner.

Then why do Venmo and CashApp get a pass? Is Fanhouse trying to leverage Apple’s Payment APIs without paying or something?

> Then why do Venmo and CashApp get a pass?

Don't give Apple any ideas. Next thing you know, they start charging you 30% of each transaction and are working on a way to send you an invoice for 30% of any transactions you do in real life.

Those apps are not distributing content, I haven’t installed Fanhouse but from looking at their website it seems that you can consume the content you’re paying for through it.

So Netflix?

It’s a subscription service and you’re not paying for individual content a-la-cart? We can play wack a mole all day and find special carve outs by Apple but “what about-ism” isn’t the (or their) point, it’s did they expect this to happen or not. Surely they knew at some point the tax man would come with absolute certainty so crying (hyperbolic) foul now is… disingenuous.

They're both subscription services. One's just "too big to fail".

I’m pretty sure Netflix and other streaming services give 30% to Apple if you buy the subscription through Apple. Don’t they?

No they don’t since they don’t give the option. It sucks that Apple isn’t giving them the option to just not allow In-app purchases at all when there’s Patreon.

They don't allow you to sign up in the app. You have to sign-up and subscribe via the web. App is login only.

Indeed, I stand corrected. I would swear that they previously allowed you to subscribe with an in-app purchase. Disney+ does still offer an Apple in-app subscription.

It hasn't been possible for about 2.5 years now.

Yeah, it's not like they put together this entire business and then afterwards realized they'd have to pony up money to Apple. If they didn't know up front, that's not great business planning.

I think this might be a part of their strategy. Do a well timer PR push.

Makes for a great soundbite though. "We had no idea going in that stepping in front of this bus would hurt us."

"Amazon and Patreon doesn't get hit with a 30% tax. Why do we?" would be less disingenuous.

Amazon (Kindle) and Patreon don't offer purchasing in their apps, exactly so they aren't charged 30%.

OnlyFans has no app because of the nature of the content.

They have no app because of the censorship in the app store, not the nature of their content.

As understandable as that is, what's a good working alternative? Google is no different and is becoming more Apple-like in its approach to software distribution. Admittedly, iPhones and Pixels provide a cruftless mobile experience. But I'd rather have an option that didn't require an ever-shortening leash or put on pretensions of concern for consumers or developers (privacy, censorship, et al.) while simultaneously shortchanging them.

This is exactly what I'm thinking.

I'm kind of exasperated with all of these apps / developers who know what they're getting into when they create developer accounts with Apple, go through all of the hard work and expense of developing apps for the App Store only to whine and tweet histrionics about how they don't like the rules after the fact.

If you want total freedom to do whatever the hell you want, there's a platform for that called Android or Windows.

Hey! Don't forget about Linux! :)

I don't understand. Has Apple changed their terms of services to disallow this? Is it not clearly disallowed by their terms of service? Or has it been disallowed for the whole 8 months of its existence, and this person is mad that they only got away with it for that long?

This will keep happening as long as people keep agreeing to Apple's terms and building on their platform. I wouldn't touch Apple's platform with a 10 foot pole. Nothing here is new. It's getting harder to sympathise with developers who keep doing it.

I'll give you the counterpoint. I'm very happy to spend money on apps and services that I like.

However, I'm only going to do it through Apple's platform, for a variety of reasons. If you don't want to build on Apple's platform, that's completely fine. I won't be a customer. And maybe that will change the system, I really don't know.

The issue is that this customer you're describing doesn't exist. It does provide a marginally higher amount of friction to use a non-native payment method, but there aren't any users out there cancelling their Netflix subscription because now Netflix gets 100% of the proceeds instead of 70%. At that point, you're inadvertently sabotaging the very company that you're trying to support, because your hardware manufacturer decided that they need to tax your software, too.

Yeah, I exist.

Let’s be clear, I don’t do any of this based on how much Apple gets. I have had a lot of bad experiences with developers abusing my information (too many emails, unsubscribe doesn’t work, selling email address) that it’s simply a game I’m not going to play anymore. This isn’t something I worry about with someone like Netflix. But the hundreds of dollars I’ve spent with small developers won’t happen otherwise.

On top of it, ever try to cancel a subscription? Wall Street Journal is one that I’ve had twice in the last 10 years. Once was through their website. When I cancelled, I had to call and got a sales pitch… through 3 reps.

The next was through Apple. Cancelling was one click.

I get why developers and people like these. As a customer I hate them. And I’m just not going to do it anymore.

How can you honestly tell a person who just shared their opinion "you don't exist"? I also would never enter my credit card in an app, UNLESS it's a huge, well-trusted brand (which this influencer app isn't).

Many people wouldn't bother. The whole point of Apple handling this is that you trust Apple to have more clue than your average startup full of monkeys.

This is a big thing for me. I really do not want to give any vendor raw Payment information if I can help. Would much rather do so though a service like Apple Pay/Google Pay. And then only have to worry about that one vendor when they get a data breach then a dozen vendors and deal with a dozen data breaches.

There are plenty of services that offer payment fuzzing options, putting your faith in one of the largest digital targets does effectively nothing to save your digital privacy.

It offers the best crosscut between connivence (subscriptions) and privacy assurance (for the time being)

I'm not saying Apple isn't adding end-user value. I can easily imagine a payment screen in an app that looks like,

* Pay with Apple Pay ($13.00)

* Pay with Stripe ($10.50)

If their value-add is as strong as you say then surely they'd still make plenty of money. If not, well maybe they need to start adding more value or dropping their prices, just like anyone in a competitive market.

Does Apple's TOS allow this?

IIRC, Credit card companies used to disallow different pricing for cash and CC.

They also do not allow you to mention or even imply the existence of their fee. Nor do they allow you to so much as link to an external website that provides other payment options, nor mention the existence of such a website.

no. you can't even mention other payment methods

Like you can’t mention on package of your product in Walmart that your product is cheaper on your website. No business allows this.

I don't know about USA but over here it's very common for manufacturers to print their MSRP on their packaging. Retailers are free to charge whatever price they want, the MSRP is simply the recommended price. It's not unusual for retailers to charge more.

> No business allows this

IIRC, Progressive Insurance? had car insurance ads where they said that they'd show insurance rates for similar coverage from the competitors next to their quote.

Again, I’m only one person, but I’m fine with that. I’d choose the Apple one.

It's time to stop asking "Why does Apple think they deserve 30% of App Store revenue" and start asking "Why has Apple not demanded 30% of web app revenue yet?".

The justification of "We put all the hard work into building the hardware, the OS and the stack so deserve a cut" still stands if a website is opened using the Safari engine. If it doesn't stand then neither does the App Store cut.

> "Why has Apple not demanded 30% of web app revenue yet?"

They would if they knew how. Which is probably why they block features on the web so that they can't compete with native apps.

Safari is the new IE6

They're blatantly holding back web tech to maintain their entrenched interests

You're talking about webm right?

There's some other examples too:

- Automatically erasing all script-writeable storage after 7 days, crippling local PWAs and preventing them from competing with native apps

- dragging their feet on Service Worker support for ages, another PWA issue

- blocking the standardization of numerous web hardware APIs:

  - Web Bluetooth
  - Web MIDI API
  - Magnetometer API
  - Web NFC API
  - Device Memory API
  - Network Information API
  - Battery Status API
  - Ambient Light Sensor
  - HDCP Policy Check extension for EME
  - Proximity Sensor
  - WebHID
  - Serial API
  - Web USB
  - Geolocation Sensor (background geolocation)
  - User Idle Detection

Restricting local storage features for "Privacy" looks like sly strategy by Apple.

Some new APIs proposed by Google is bad, so declining by Apple is fair. Mozilla also decline some APIs.

>Some new APIs proposed by Google is bad

What's the greater evil? Some APIs that have to be approved by the user that give greater access to hardware.

Or developers having to write platform specific native apps if they want to reach the gigantic iOS audience, oh and because it's then through the App Store, then pay Apple for the privilege and pay App Store tax on any income from the app.

I know some would argue both are bad, but I know which world I'd rather live in.

The standard modern web in general.

Mobile Safari is the Internet Explorer of the modern web.

A seller accepts $x because they are betting they cannot sell at $x+1 at whatever scale they want to sell at.

A buyer gives $x because they are betting they cannot buy at $x-1 at whatever scale they want to buy at.

So the subscription apple tax work-around does not work anymore if you are making too much money?

More like not enough money. Netflix and Spotify leaving the App Store would be a big deal and piss off a lot of consumers. Months old startup a handful have heard of? Perfect to extort in Apple's eyes.

Netflix and Spotify don’t offer in-app purchases and come under the reader rule within the appstore guidelines. At least know about things before you talk about them dude.

I hate to be That Guy, but Apple doesn't care how much money you keep vs. how much money you pay others when you accept In-App Payments. If you paid 90% of your IaP revenues to the power company instead of to content creators, Apple has no way of knowing this. It just would mean that your business has no hope of being profitable.

Fanhouse can still pass IaP revenues onto their customers ("creators"), but they're going to end up giving them 63% of their IaP revenue (90% of 70%) instead of 90%.

This is a business problem disguised as a justice issue.

> This is a business problem disguised as a justice issue.

And we're discussing it because the monopoly known as Apple is continuing to gaslight and extort our industry.

Apple cannot be the single point of entry into a device that is responsible for 50% of American computing-related commerce. That might have worked if Apple was a small device used by 5% of consumers, but let's be real. Apple is the face of modern computing.

What the question really should be is, "why should Apple get to enjoy all commerce and freedoms linked to computing?" Through marketing and developing a good product, they've brought themselves into a market leader position. The choice to lock down their device may have made sense at 5%, but now it suffocates our entire industry under their gargantuan weight.

Apple isn't a device maker anymore. They're the fabric of computing itself. They have all the customers, they control all the software, and they make all the choices. You don't get ingress without going through them. They've been transformed into an analog of a common carrier, and the law now needs to treat them as such.

The only path forward is to force Apple to allow web-based downloads of apps, no longer allow them to force Apple payment rails, and to enable non-Safari based browsers to be installed.

Simple fix that will restore balance and health to the industry.

After this change happens, Apple will remain a 2 Trillion dollar company. This has negligible impact on their revenue - all it does is force them to work harder and gives the rest of us much-needed breathing room.

(Nevermind the right to repair and compute arguments.)

Why does this rise to an issue of regulation for you? All these problems with the Apple ecosystem are optional: Android exists, and is a viable alternative with none of the mentioned downsides.

The fact that 50% of Americans freely choose to entrench themselves in an ecosystem with draconian rules and high fees does not imply that creating or operating such as system should be illegal. Apple would argue that the fees are necessary to fund creation of the system in the first place.

Some people like the status quo and would defend it to the death because they make money off it.

Isn't the point here What they get 30% of?

Do they get 30% of what the end user pays or 30% of the revenue the app maker keeps (30% of Fanhouses 10% is 3%)?

The only reasonable way to structure the payment is on the gross value. If Apple tried to define it on some net or retained value then Apple would be auditing the developers of 337030 paid apps each pulling their own shenanigans to hide their revenue.

Maybe, but that defacto bans anyone acting as a middle man doesn't it?

I’m not sure the world wants or needs an App Store full of arbitrageurs. It wouldn’t be a very good experience for customers and it would lead even more questionable businesses to leverage it.

Careful, writing off "arbitrageurs" means you can't have Spotify or Amazon or eBay apps. Those seem like things people do want...

Apple gets 30% of what the end user pays. IaP has always worked this way. It's a high tax to be sure, but it's not like Apple gets half, or more than half.

If you can't run a self-sustaining business with the remaining 70%, then you have two choices at the moment: (1) find a new business to be in, or (2) do what similarly situated businesses do, and use a different mechanism for collecting revenue than IaP.

Saying "That's just how it is" is basically admitting admitting it's wrong but refusing to support fixing it.

I get where you're coming from. I think Fanhouse is a bad example case. I won't die on this hill. But if that's the best reason for something, we are admitting there is no good reason for it.

The thing is, we can argue ad infinitum as to what an acceptable commission should be. There’s no “correct” value. No matter what it is, someone will always complain that it’s too high. (Case in point: brick-and-mortar merchants who complain about 3-5% merchant fees for accepting credit cards.)

But the fact that it’s been this way for over 10 years and the app ecosystem has been very healthy is a pretty good existence proof that it’s not as big a deal as some vociferous people (who, in the end, usually just want more money for themselves) make it out to be.

Is the app ecosystem very healthy or could it be healthier? Why does the rate from 10 years ago make sense today?

In a free market, the rates would be set by market forces and we generally think those are right. But Apple set 30% and has never even reviewed it as far as we know.

I won't pretend there is a sure fire way of defining exactly the correct rate. There isn't. But that doesn't mean letting Apple set it is correct either. This is why we have utility boards: someone who isn't bias should set rates to make them fair and efficient and make sure the system is working as well as possible.

Your electricity price needs to be low enough you're not being fleeced, but high enough to allow investment in improved infrastructure. If you set the price it might be too low, if the local monopoly set the price it would be too high.

The app store is no different. Someone disinterested should be setting a price that maximises benefit for consumers.

That price might actually be higher? I don't know. I'm just saying that Apple shouldn't be permitted to set it alone and that "30%" was never carved I to stone by god as the right number. If anything, the fact it has stayed at 30% proves its wrong. What other price has remained exactly the same for over a decade?

Apple isn't alone is setting this price -- at the very least, Apple competes with Android for roughly half the smartphone market share. Making your app available in both ecosystems is not a requirement to run a successful business. As an example, consider the myriad apps that are available exclusively on iPhone, with no Android support.

The 30% in-app purchase tax can't be compared to a utility price because it isn't mandatory. As a business, if you don't want to pay it, you are free to target a different platform with a similar user base.

If high-quality apps stopped supporting iOS because of the high IaP fees, eventually Apple will be incentivized to reduce those fees. If apps elect to stay, the platform is clearly worth the cost.

The debate over whether app stores are a monopoly/oligopoly etc is pretty well gone over here isn't it? I won't waste your time repeating those points.

Interestingly, last time I checked 80% of iPhone users would not consider switching when surveyed (well done Apple).

I wonder if forcing an open market and even cross compatability would be a better semi-solution...

That certain people are angry about a situation such as this, despite the widespread evidence of customer satisfaction, speaks a lot about people’s priorities, I think.

Again, this is a deflection though isn't it? There will always be other issues in the world, so we should deal with everything else before we engage with apple?

And remember, users aren't the customers in this market, they're the product. The customer is the company being asked to fork over 30% just to access those users (who already paid for the phone and the data to connect it...).

10 years is a pretty short time for "this has been always been this way".

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