Russia may cap App Store fees at 20 percent

The Russian Parliament will soon vote on a bill that would cap the commission companies like Apple and Google charge on the sale of apps in digital stores to twenty percent. Last month, Russia’s anti-monopoly body alleged Apple abused its dominant position via the App Store.

As a quick backgrounder, Apple’s standard fee on the sale of apps and subscriptions in the App Store is thirty percent. In case of subscriptions, however, the company lowers its fee from thirty to fifteen percent after a subscriber’s first full year of service.

Reuters has the story (emphasis mine):

The bill, submitted to Russia’s lower house of parliament by lawmaker Fedot Tumusov, stipulates that commissions on the sale of applications be capped at twenty percent. Apple currently collects a thirty precent commission on sales in its App Store. The bill, if adopted, would also oblige app sellers to pay a third of their commissions to a special training fund for IT specialists on a quarterly basis.

Tumosov said on social media that the bill would also force Apple to allow third-party app stores on the iPhone and iPad, which is precisely what developer Epic Games has been trying to accomplish with its recent anti-Apple crusade and legal moves.

Now, I may swallow the fact that governments may try to impose caps on fees charged in stores, whether physical or digital. But what’s up with potentially requiring developers to pay one-third of their commission (which would be eighty percent if the bill passes the vote)?

And to a “special training fund” aimed at IT specialists? Why should anyone selling apps in the Russian App Store pay to teach people how to use computers? And on a quarterly basis?

The Reuters article provides no further explanation on that.

Last December, the Russian government rushed a new protectionist law designed to restrict operations of foreign video services in order to protect local competitors.

Under the new legislation, any foreign video service that has amassed twenty percent of the market share for video-streaming services in Russia could face restrictions or even be driven out of the market completely. As a result of this law, Apple TV+ could be driven out of the Russian market, provided it becomes too big eventually.