Coalition Takes on Apple App Store Policies

Epic, Spotify and others ally against Apple and Google app policies

The coalition will allow those companies to pool resources and lobby as a group, while giving clout to smaller developers who could never tackle giants like Apple or Google alone.

As The New York Times reports, tech firms including Spotify, Match Group, and Epic Games, have banded together to form the Coalition for App Fairness.

The group has proposed a code of conduct it wants Apple and other store owners to adopt.

"Apple's IAP forces consumers to pay higher prices by inserting Apple between app developers and their users, leading to customer confusion and dissatisfaction that has far-reaching implications for our businesses".

As the Coalition notes, app stores are convenient places for users to discover, download, and buy apps, but the two major gatekeepers-Apple and Google-have abused their control of this app distribution on their respective platforms. "We think that's wrong". Other app makers in the group have through public statements previously spoken out against Apple's practices, and some have also communicated their complaints to Congress. This differs from Apple's policies in regards to Macs, because you can install apps outside of the Mac App Store.

Apple didn't directly comment on the group's launch, but it did today release new resources, including a redesign of its About the App Store page that details its benefits, the addition of a page that focused specifically on developer benefits, an overview of the advantages provided by its app developer program and a new site that explains its Apple Video Partner program and how to apply.

Spotify has also been a long-time critic of Apple's policies, especially the 30% tax, since that portion of all its monthly subscriptions goes to Apple.

Epic is suing Apple for alleged monopoly in the U.S. Federal Court in California, while Spotify has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in the European Union. This is especially unfair when this tax is imposed on apps competing directly with similar apps sold by Apple.

"If Apple chooses to compete with developers on its platform, it should do so according to the same rules", Tile vice president Kirsten Daru says. The Fortnite maker purposefully violated Apple's App Store policies in protest against its 30% commission, and even made a callback to a 1984 Apple commercial in protest. The plaintiff in that case argued that multiple app marketplaces or other ways to install apps would make iPhone apps cheaper, therefore more consumer-friendly. There's now a temporary restraining order preventing Apple from booting Epic's Unreal Engine from the App Store, which Apple is still seeking the right to do.

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