Apple is facing more than one antitrust probe regarding the App Store and the fees associated with the digital marketplace, so it’s not surprising to see the company come out swinging with a commissioned report showing why it’s not in the wrong.
Enter the Analysis Group, which Apple commissioned to bring together a new research report outlining the similarities between the App Store and other digital marketplaces out there in the world. Specifically, how their fees compare to Apple’s. The result? Turns out that a lot –most!– digital marketplaces charge a 30% fee, just like Apple. According to the report, “Apple’s App Store commission rate is similar in magnitude to the commission rates charged by many other app stores and digital content marketplaces”.
The research report says that when compared to the likes of Amazon’s Appstore or Google’s Play Store, and video game digital marketplaces, the app fee is “generally” around 30%.
Per the report:
Our study shows that Apple’s App Store commission rate is similar in magnitude to the commission rates charged by many other app stores and digital content marketplaces. The commission rates charged by digital marketplaces most similar to the App Store, such as other app stores and video game digital marketplaces, are generally around 30%.
Marketplaces that distribute digital content such as videos, podcasts, eBooks, and audiobooks generally charge commission rates of 30% or more. Commission rates charged by e-commerce marketplaces vary by industry but sometimes exceed 30%.
Many sellers currently sell (or previously sold) their goods through brick-and-mortar stores and marketplaces. We find that sellers generally earn a substantially lower share of total revenue from the distribution through brick-and-mortar stores and marketplaces than through digital marketplaces such as the Apple App Store.
What’s Apple trying to get at here? Well, that’s pretty clear: it’s not so different from everyone else. Yes, Apple knows and has said aloud that the App Store is wildly popular, successful, and powerful, but the company says it’s not diverging from the market norm when it comes to fees.
As far as the fees go, Apple charges 30% for in-app purchases, and 30% for paid apps. There’s a slight difference for subscriptions, though. For the first year Apple charges the standard 30%, but then the fee goes down to 15% for subsequent years. The report points out that Amazon, for instance, charges 20% for subscription fees attached to streaming video services.
The report adds, “Marketplaces that distribute digital content such as videos, podcasts, eBooks, and audiobooks generally charge commission rates of 30% or more. Commission rates charged by e-commerce marketplaces vary by industry but sometimes exceed 30%”. So the goal appears to have been reached, as far as this report goes.
But, what do you think? Are Apple’s fees too much? Should the company rework them? Or is the fact the company appears to be in line with the other marketplaces means everything is fine?