Apple is (temporarily) waiving its App Store fee for Facebook’s online events

Yolanda Curtis
September 26, 2020

Apple has published new guidance on its Video Partner Program, which caused controversy earlier this year after it emerged some video platforms don't have to pay Apple's entire 30% App Store cut. This group of companies has teamed up under a new name: Coalition for App Fairness.

The temporary reprieve means that transactions for events in Live on the iOS platform can be handled by Facebook's payment system instead of Apple's network, the social network said.

Some of the major members of the coalition are Basecamp, Blix, Blockchain, Deezer, Epic Games, EPC, Spotify, and Tile. These include the ability to distribute apps outside of app stores, protections from having their own data used against them to compete, timely access to developer documentation, the right to communicate with users through its app for legitimate business purposes, no requirements to use the app store's payment systems, no requirements to pay unfair fees and more.

Currently, both Google and Apple are embroiled in a legal battle with Epic Games. But the game maker isn't the only company dissatisfied with Apple and Google taking a 30-percent cut of sales, insisting that all revenue generated from apps in their stores is subject to this "app tax", and holding other allegedly anti-competitive policies.

Developers offering products within a game downloaded on Google Play or providing access to game content must use Google Play In-app Billing as the method of payment.

The move is obviously risky - the only official way to install apps on an iPhone or iPad is through Apple's App Store, and the Google Play Store is the dominant channel for doing so on Android devices. The new organization formalizes efforts the companies already have underway that focus on either forcing app store providers to change their policies, or ultimately forcing the app stores into regulation.

The Coalition has also laid down 10 App Store Principles it sees as crucial for the App Store to become fairer towards developers.

Apple did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment. Or if you were buying music from a streaming app that could be played on other music players, app developers would not have to pay Google 30% of that either.

Apple and Facebook have been feuding over this issue since August, and Apple has struggled with applying ‌App Store‌ rules to businesses that are transitioning from real-world events to online events. Several examples are offered; one "case study" claims that "Apple has manipulated its rules and policies to disadvantage Tile, a popular Bluetooth finding hardware and app developer, in favor of its competing Find My App".

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