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Apple under fire over subscription commission rates on the App Store

House Antitrust Subcommitte reveals internal emails showing deals with Amazon over commission rates
Apple under fire over subscription commission rates on the App Store

Apple has come under fire for its commission structure with internal emails showing that rates were intended to be higher and that different companies are getting different rates.

As reported by TechCrunch, the emails were revealed as part of an investigation currently underway by the House Antitrust Subcommittee. Apple CEO Tim Cook has provided sworn testimony as part of proceedings.

Cook has claimed that Apple treats all developers equally, and that the firm won't be raising commission rates. He also stated that only 16% of developers actually pay Apple anything through their apps.

Commissions and contradictions

However, some of these statements appear to have been contradicted by internal emails from Apple SVP Eddy Cue. One email exchange between Cue and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos from 2016 revealed that the Prime Video app is only charged a 15% commission on subscriptions in year one - for other apps, the rate is 30%, which drops to 15% in year two.

Another internal email from 2011 shows Cue suggesting that the first-year rate should be raised from 30% to 40%, arguing that "we may be leaving money on the table if we just asked for about 30% of the first year of the sub".

Apple was fined $1.23 billion by French antitrust regulator L’Autorité de la concurrence back in March 2020. The firm also recently commissioned a report to explore why its strict rules in the App Store make for a better experience for its users.