Apple just announced a new program called the App Store Small Business Program, which will implement App Store fees for small business owners and independent developers. A number of companies seem quite unhappy with Apple’s move and have openly criticized it.
Spotify criticized Apple’s new program in a statement saying that its App Store policies are ‘'arbitrary and capricious’'. ‘'While we find their fees to be excessive and discriminatory, Apple's tying of its own payment system to the App Store and the communications restrictions it uses to punish developers who choose not to use it, put apps like Spotify at a significant disadvantage to their own competing service.’', Spotify’s statement read.
Spotify further added that it hopes that regulators would ‘'ignore Apple's "window dressing" and act with urgency to protect consumer choice, ensure fair competition, and create a level playing field for all.’'
This isn’t the first time that Spotify is criticizing the tech giant. Apple and Spotify have had a long-term rivalry, where Spotify has accused the company of anti-competitive behavior. Spotify even filed a formal complaint against Apple, accusing the company of using the App Store to deliberately disadvantage other app developers. The matter eventually ended up in an EU Commission antitrust investigation.
On the other hand, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney also released a statement following Apple’s announcement of the program, where he said that Apple is again ‘'breaking the promise of treating all developers equally.’'
‘'By giving special 15 percent terms to select robber barons like Amazon, and now also to small indies, Apple is hoping to remove enough critics that they can get away with their blockade on competition and 30 percent tax on most in-app purchases. But consumers will still pay inflated prices marked up by the Apple tax.’', Sweeney added.
Like Spotify, Epic Games has also previously had issues with Apple over its App Store rules after Epic Games introduced a direct payment option in its app. Apple accused Epic of defying its policies, which resulted in Epic taking a bold step against the company by filing a lawsuit.
Basecamp CTO David Heinemeier Hansson also voiced his criticism at Apple’s recent move in his tweets. Hansson also holds ownership of the email app ‘'Hey’', which Apple threatened to remove from its App Store for breaching its policies.
Machiavelli would be so proud of Apple. Trying to split the App Store opposition with conditional charity concessions, they – a $2T conglomerate – get to paint any developer making more than $1m as greedy, always wanting more. As clever as its sick. https://t.co/SLTh3qMOnP— DHH (@dhh) November 18, 2020
The three companies Epic, Basecamp, and Spotify teamed up and formed the "Coalition for App Fairness" to highlight developer issues with Apple in September. The organization voiced several demands, such as "no developer should be required to use an app store exclusively," "every developer should always have access to app stores," and "no developer should be required to pay unfair, unreasonable or discriminatory fees or revenue shares."
The tech giant on the other hand only has good things to say about its App Store Small Business Program, as it expects the program to generate more digital commerce, support more jobs, and provide more funds for small businesses to invest back into their apps as they develop software for Apple's users.