Sometimes change can be started with an open letter. And apparently that’s what news publishers are hoping can happen now (with some help from Epic Games).
You are probably aware of the legal battle between Epic Games, the maker of the popular battle royale game Fortnite, and Apple (and Google). The former is suing the latter for anti-competitive behavior, and is trying to make it possible to gets its own digital storefront (the Epic Games Store) onto iOS devices. Other companies, like Spotify, want to see Apple’s 30% cut for app and in-app purchases reduced (a lot).
And now we can put some news publishers in the camp that want to see Apple’s take reduced.
In an open letter signed by several different news publishers (9to5Mac), including the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Washington Post, Apple is requested to reduce its “Apple tax” to 15%. That means a drop from the standard 30% to a flat 15%, without having to worry about recurring subscriptions or preferential treatment.
The fact that The New York Times is including itself in this list of news publishers is not surprising in the slightest. That publication removed itself from Apple News not too long ago, ending its partnership with Apple to publish content for Apple News+. The NYT‘s CEO Mark Thompson has also gone on the record as saying that many publications out there should be wary of signing up with Apple News+ for various reasons, including potentially giving too much power to Apple in the news industry, as well as a loss in subscriber revenue. Basically, the NYT wants people to sign up for its content directly on its website, rather than team up with Apple in any capacity (so Apple doesn’t get any cut of the proceeds either).
But we can’t forget the importance of the Wall Street Journal signing its name to the letter, too. On August 12, the New York Post reported that the WSJ was sticking with Apple News+ for the foreseeable future because it helps “introduce new readers” to the publication. So while the WSJ is more than happy to stick with Apple News+ for now, thanks to the expanded reader base, the news publisher also wants Apple to reduce its App Store fees.
Apple used to get away with its 30% cut in the App Store with just a slight grumble from companies who have to live with it, but now that Epic Games has declared war on Apple they are all coming out of the woodwork to voice their discontent.
What do you think of Apple’s App Store fees? Is it time for Apple (and other companies) to reduce them?