Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, will face questions regarding potential antitrust behavior regarding the App Store this week, but, before that, the App Store chief wants to try and clear things up.
In a report from Reuters, Apple’s president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller sat down for a brief interview and ultimately defended the App Store and the company’s policies regarding the digital storefront. Interestingly, Schiller says that the idea behind the App Store began as just a means to roll out an experiment, a way to offer “compellingly low commission” in an effort to draw developers to build apps and launch them in the digital storefront.
One of the things we came up with is, we’re going to treat all apps in the App Store the same – one set of rules for everybody, no special deals, no special terms, no special code, everything applies to all developers the same. That was not the case in PC software. Nobody thought like that. It was a complete flip around of how the whole system was going to work,” Schiller said.
So, what about the App Store’s policies and the review process? According to Schiller, these things are a necessity because customers are buying the apps through Apple’s own billing system. Apple believes that, especially at the start of the App Store, customers would feel more comfortable forking over their money for an app buying things directly from Apple, what it perceived as a trusted vendor.
As we were talking to some of the biggest game developers, for example, Minecraft, they said, ‘I totally get why you want the user to be able to pay for it on device. But we have a lot of users coming who bought their subscription or their account somewhere else – on an Xbox, on a PC, on the web. And it’s a big barrier to getting onto your store,'” Schiller said. “So we created this exception to our own rule.
The 30% commission Apple takes from sales out of the App Store has brought on plenty of complaints from developers, and that’s part of the upcoming antitrust probe Apple will face this week. However, Apple did commission a report from an independent group, called the Analysis Group, to show that the App Store’s commission is par for the course with other competing platforms.
Apple’s going to remain under fire for its App Store policies, especially after the U.S. government and European Union probes, and developers are probably not going to ease up on their complaints any time soon. But it certainly sounds like Apple isn’t going to backdown on this situation.