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Bennet

Apple considers transparency information as irrelevant and forbids info about their 30% cut

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Summary

In Facebook's new feature of paid online events (for small and medium sized businesses) they added information about Apple taking a 30% cut for in-app purchases. Apple considered this information irrelevant and blocked the update. 

 

Quotes

Quote

Für Facebook sind es wichtige, für Apple "irrelevante" Informationen. Facebook ärgert sich darüber, dass Apple dem sozialen Netzwerk verbietet, in einer App auf die App-Store-Gebühr hinzuweisen, die Apple verlangt, berichtet Reuters. Eine von Facebook eingereichte App wurde für die Veröffentlichung im App Store abgelehnt, weil darin öffentlichkeitswirksam auf die App-Store-Gebühr hingewiesen wurde.

Nach Angaben von Facebook hat Apple zur Begründung der Ablehnung eine App-Store-Regel genannt, wonach es Unternehmen untersagt sei, der Nutzerschaft "irrelevante" Informationen anzuzeigen. Dabei entscheidet Apple selbst, welche Angaben als irrelevant eingestuft werden.

Facebook wollte bei einer neuen Funktion für Online-Veranstaltungen darauf hinweisen, dass Apple von den erhobenen Gebühren einen Anteil von 30 Prozent behält.

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For Facebook it is important information, for Apple "irrelevant" information. Facebook is annoyed that Apple forbids the social network to refer to the App Store fee in an app, which Apple demands, reports Reuters. An app submitted by Facebook was rejected for publication in the App Store because it made public reference to the App Store fee.

According to Facebook, Apple cited an App Store rule to justify its refusal, according to which companies are prohibited from disclosing "irrelevant" information to users. Apple will decide for itself which information will be classified as irrelevant.

In a new function for online events, Facebook wanted to point out that Apple would retain a 30 percent share of the fees charged.

 

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Source: https://www.golem.de/news/facebook-apple-verbietet-hinweis-auf-app-store-gebuehr-2008-150530.html

 

My thoughts

So by now it is well know that Apple employs questionable practices, enforcing any purchases going through their in-app-purchases API giving them their 30% cut. So I'm not sure about Facebooks wording, but for me it seam like they only said there is a 30% cut and not necessarily how to bypass it, only being transparent were the money goes. But for Apple first claiming this is irrelevant  and than saying irrelevant information are forbidden, sounds for me like they will happily take their cut, not wanting to amid this to their users. Pretending every thing is fine and there is noting to worry about... like it is embarrassing for them against the users?? If they could be at least open and transparent about their god damn practice regarding this... Wouldn't make every thing fine and ok but at least... honest... I guess. But I know this is not something such company like to do...

 

The icing on the cake is, Google would normally also take their 30% cut. But Facebook asked both to do with out the cut for this feature and Google agreed in this case... 

 

Sources

https://www.golem.de/news/facebook-apple-verbietet-hinweis-auf-app-store-gebuehr-2008-150530.html

(also: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-apple-exclusive/exclusive-facebook-says-apple-rejected-its-attempt-to-tell-users-about-app-store-fees-idUSKBN25O042?il=0)

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15 minutes ago, Bennet said:

The icing on the cake is, Google would normally also take their 30% cut. But Facebook asked both to do with out the cut for this feature and Google agreed in this case... 

that is because google is hypocritical and doesn't enforce the rules platform wide. Apple does, no matter the size of the company trying to influence them. 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
Just now, Ashley xD said:

that is because google is hypocritical and doesn't enforce the rules platform wide. Apple does, no matter the size of the company trying to influence them. 

And what about the reduced cut for Amazon with Prime Video?

https://www.theverge.com/2020/7/30/21348108/apple-amazon-prime-video-app-store-special-treatment-fee-subscriptions

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Just now, Bennet said:
Just now, Ashley xD said:

that is because google is hypocritical and doesn't enforce the rules platform wide. Apple does, no matter the size of the company trying to influence them. 

And what about the reduced cut for Amazon with Prime Video?

https://www.theverge.com/2020/7/30/21348108/apple-amazon-prime-video-app-store-special-treatment-fee-subscriptions

And Netflix too.


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7 minutes ago, Ashley xD said:

that is because google is hypocritical and doesn't enforce the rules platform wide. Apple does, no matter the size of the company trying to influence them. 

Google doesn't give a damn as they well know huge majority of people still buy through GooglePlay. Apple goes anal about it.

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Apple charging everyone 30% isn't a good thing, at least the smaller devs on Android can avoid the fees and let people sideload, while the majority of people use the Play store, there are enough that sideload or else it wouldn't be worth doing.

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33 minutes ago, Bennet said:

was unaware of this, thanks for informing me. 


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14 minutes ago, Blademaster91 said:

Apple charging everyone 30% isn't a good thing, at least the smaller devs on Android can avoid the fees and let people sideload, while the majority of people use the Play store, there are enough that sideload or else it wouldn't be worth doing.

And on Android developers are free to build their own stores with their own rules, just like on Windows where we got Steam, Epic game store, etc.

Amazon for example have their own app store on Android.

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8 hours ago, Bennet said:

Summary

In Facebook's new feature of paid online events (for small and medium sized businesses) they added information about Apple taking a 30% cut for in-app purchases. Apple considered this information irrelevant and blocked the update. 

 

Quotes

Source: https://www.golem.de/news/facebook-apple-verbietet-hinweis-auf-app-store-gebuehr-2008-150530.html

 

My thoughts

So by now it is well know that Apple employs questionable practices, enforcing any purchases going through their in-app-purchases API giving them their 30% cut. So I'm not sure about Facebooks wording, but for me it seam like they only said there is a 30% cut and not necessarily how to bypass it, only being transparent were the money goes. But for Apple first claiming this is irrelevant  and than saying irrelevant information are forbidden, sounds for me like they will happily take their cut, not wanting to amid this to their users. Pretending every thing is fine and there is noting to worry about... like it is embarrassing for them against the users?? If they could be at least open and transparent about their god damn practice regarding this... Wouldn't make every thing fine and ok but at least... honest... I guess. But I know this is not something such company like to do...

 

The icing on the cake is, Google would normally also take their 30% cut. But Facebook asked both to do with out the cut for this feature and Google agreed in this case... 

 

Sources

https://www.golem.de/news/facebook-apple-verbietet-hinweis-auf-app-store-gebuehr-2008-150530.html

(also: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-apple-exclusive/exclusive-facebook-says-apple-rejected-its-attempt-to-tell-users-about-app-store-fees-idUSKBN25O042?il=0)

The 30% cut isn’t the questionable practice.  It’s industry standard. Whether that industry standard is questionable or not is a different issue.  It is the bit that Epic was bothered by, as has been shown, but if that it is the problem, Google, Sony, and microsoft are all defendants. The questionable practice is Apple attempting to control the content of advertisements regarding itself.  It’s an unfortunately common practice. That doesn’t make it legal but it doesn’t mean it isn’t done.   I recall a company banning the use of green paper in a company because a unionization movement used green as an identifying color.  Banning the Union was illegal but banning green wasn’t specifically forbidden so they did it. 


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2 minutes ago, Bombastinator said:

The 30% cut isn’t the questionable practice. 

Side note, doesn't UberEats or something charge a similar amount to restaurants for each order? 


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7 hours ago, BlueChinchillaEatingDorito said:

Side note, doesn't UberEats or something charge a similar amount to restaurants for each order? 

There is apparently an exception in the Apple license for real goods.  Food is real goods. A movie might not be. Virtual products like game skins or software aren’t.  Apparently audio books are though?  It’s a bit confusing.  The real problem was apparently the way epic set things up they were making an App Store within the App Store. Kind of like if you set up a deli inside a Safeway and sold things at lower prices than the Safeway deli because they had lots of customers. Part of the deal is Apple has a special system for “free” apps which costs far far less money.  In the past companies have set up “free” apps that do nothing but get the customer to buy a paid app to get around the fee, so the rule was instituted. 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
4 hours ago, Bombastinator said:

The 30% cut isn’t the questionable practice.  It’s industry standard. Whether that industry standard is questionable or not is a different issue.  It is the bit that Epic was bothered by, as has been shown, but if that it is the problem, Google, Sony, and microsoft are all defendants. The questionable practice is Apple attempting to control the content of advertisements regarding itself.  It’s an unfortunately common practice. That doesn’t make it legal but it doesn’t mean it isn’t done.   I recall a company banning the use of green paper in a company because a unionization movement used green as an identifying color.  Banning the Union was illegal but banning green wasn’t specifically forbidden so they did it. 

Yeah, I might had phrased that poorly. In fact I think the industry standard here is kinda questionable. Especially regarding in-app-purchases where the store than only is a glorified payment processor. I don't know weather Sony, Microsoft, Epic, Seam and co. do the same thing here. But it seams like Apple is doing worst here, closely followed by Google which are at least a bit more open about bypassing this.

 

To specify it further I think in the case of the large Game-store platforms for PC and Console, where they have to serve hundreds of gigabytes on behalf of the developer/publisher, I kinda get that they take such a significant cut of the initial purchase. I mean bandwidth and data-storage on this dimension is not exactly cheap. But that Apple and Google do the same for mobile, were the required storage and bandwidth are multiple orders of magnitude smaller is kinda rough... But if it would only effect the initial purchase (or by extent a purchase which unlocks the app later down the line [would need to be better specified], that no one would try to bypass it) and not things which would be value added features beyond the app usage, so where Apple and Google only become the payment processor, than I guess we could be ok with that. And I don't want to imply that they should not take a cut on payment processing, but I think taking "only" a couple percent like PayPal or other payment processors would be way more fair here. But I think as long as they can get through with their current practice, they are far from willing to change it...

 

(Again I don't know how PC and console platform are doing with in-game purchases. But the same opinion would apply) 

 

And yeah I guess aggressively forbidding "bad advertisement" about them, is such a dick-move but probably something which they are allowed to do. Dishonest and arrogant but perfectly legal, I guess...

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5 hours ago, Bombastinator said:

There is apparently an exception in the Apple license for real goods.  Food is real foods. A movie might not be. Virtual products like game skins or software aren’t.  Apparently audio books are though?  It’s a bit confusing.  The real problem was apparently the way epic set things up they were making an App Store within the App Store. Kind of like if you set up a deli inside a Safeway and sold things at lower prices than the Safeway deli because they had lots of customers. Part of the deal is Apple has a special system for “free” apps which costs far far less money.  In the past companies have set up “free” apps that do nothing but get the customer to buy a paid app to get around the fee, so the rule was instituted. 

The way Tim Cook described it, is only customers acquired on the Apple device pay the commission. That makes perfect sense, especially if all other platforms are taking 30%.

 

The food apps, and Uber only use "Apple Pay" not in-app purchases. Apple can't QA a service that physically exists, only digital ones. So in those cases Apple only acts as a payment processor, and the food courier charges the restaurant the fee. Restaurants are also free to use their own delivery people with some apps.

 

Netflix, Microsoft Office 365, and such have IAP's for signing up, but they also get that reduction to 15% since their IAP's are subscriptions.

 

Which comes back to the problem with even making the distinctions which would be fairer if it was setup this way:

 

a) Apple downloaded (software, books, music,) (10%), Apple QA'd (15%), and Apple Payment (5%) where the software/media is downloaded by the store to the device.

b) Apple acquired customer, subscribed service (eg Netflix, Crunchyroll, xCloud, Stadia, Spotify , etc) 15% where the service is provided by the remote end, and nothing is downloaded by the app. Thus Apple has nothing to QA, it's done by the third party.

c) Apple Payment Alone  (5)% (food couriers, limo services, etc charge their restaurant a 10% commission from the retail price)

d) Apple Purchases from an app (5%), but fulfillment by a third party (10% to third party), essentially the same as C, but Apple handles the commission to the third party.

 

What's important is that B is not downloading a binaries. So this is not a backdoor "third party store", rather only a front end to streaming services.  If the "service" provides it's own individual purchases, then that falls under A, not B. Which is completely correct to do, because the purchase is made by the Apple customer, and that's why IAP's are justified to be QA checked by Apple. All you need is one malicious "store" pretend to be the Apple store, and it ruins it for everyone.

 

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16 hours ago, Vishera said:

And Netflix too.

People through the Amazon Prime stone often in this argument. I might be mistaken here but Apple charges 15% for video streaming  subscriptions. But it's funny that no one mentions that Apple charges 0% for IAP of physical goods (e.g. Starbucks app)

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5 minutes ago, ApexMeteor said:

People through the Amazon Prime stone often in this argument. I might be mistaken here but Apple charges 15% for video streaming  subscriptions. But it's funny that no one mentions that Apple charges 0% for IAP of physical goods (e.g. Starbucks app)

Also how is with Netflix for example? I subscribed to Netflix ages ago, even before I had an iPhone. I now have iPhone with Netflix installed. Apple gets 0% from me. I wonder how they define that. Sure you need to have option to purchase within iPhone's Netflix app, but they can't enforce purchase through their app, you can do it via Netflix webpage directly.

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20 minutes ago, RejZoR said:

Also how is with Netflix for example? I subscribed to Netflix ages ago, even before I had an iPhone. I now have iPhone with Netflix installed. Apple gets 0% from me. I wonder how they define that. Sure you need to have option to purchase within iPhone's Netflix app, but they can't enforce purchase through their app, you can do it via Netflix webpage directly.

Your point is valid. In both Amazon Prime and Netflix (and probably many others) the user can pay for a subscription on the provider's website and download the app on the App Store to consume that content. Sounds fair if it remains like so. I personally used to subscribe Spotify when I still had an iPhone and I would always pay for it directly on Spotify's website, especially because they offered a better annual rate. So it really doesn't bother me that Apple charges for the convenience of an user to sub the same service directly on iOS. There are alternatives and that's why some of the discussion around Apple sounds very hypocritical. If users find it more difficult to sub directly on the website, don't blame Apple but your web developers and UX design team for not making the best experience for costumers. Still many issues to address on all mobile platforms, but the IAP debacle is just noise

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I mean, I understand the rule that you need to provide subscription/purchase within the app so users can simply buy or sign up for it from within app and Apple takes 30% there. It would be super weird if app developer just plopped the app on App Store and you'd have to make a purchase separately outside of the app on a webpage. And if you make it in such a way that all purchases bypass Apple, that's a violation of TOS. That seems normal too. Option to pick which way doesn't seem to be a problem in my eyes. Some pick direct convenience over who gets what as they just don't care. And buying via App Store is probably less of a hassle.

 

Has Fortnite bypassed the App Store entirely and didn't offer purchase within the app directly without giving user choice of doing it via App Store or via Fortnite. I don't know those specifics, but would be nice to know how exactly it happened as there seems to be a lot of weird claims around...

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17 hours ago, LAwLz said:

And on Android developers are free to build their own stores with their own rules, just like on Windows where we got Steam, Epic game store, etc.

Amazon for example have their own app store on Android.

But you know how it is with Apple users.

 

Dependency is security. Think different.


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1 hour ago, RejZoR said:

Has Fortnite bypassed the App Store entirely and didn't offer purchase within the app directly without giving user choice of doing it via App Store

Not that it really matters, but iirc they just added a purchase link / option to their website *including* like a 10% discount,  which they obviously did not offer through the app store. 

 

Reason I'm saying it doesn't really matter is because they very well knew it would be against Apple's terms and the reason for the discount was to show "hey,  look, without apple's cut it would be so much cheaper!"  

 

Edit: it appears the discount was around 25%


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Now that's funny. I thought they wanted to be know that they take a lot of money from people. 


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24 minutes ago, Mark Kaine said:

Not that it really matters, but iirc they just added a purchase link / option to their website *including* like a 10% discount,  which they obviously did not offer through the app store. 

 

Reason I'm saying it doesn't really matter is because they very well knew it would be against Apple's terms and the reason for the discount was to show "hey,  look, without apple's cut it would be so much cheaper!"  (ironically only 10% and not the full 30% tho lol)

It was 25% more expensive to buy through Apple than directly from Epic. 

9.99 if you bought through Apple's payment API. 

7.99 if you bought through Epic directly. 

 

So it was most likely 25% plus a 5% payment fee from whatever payment processor Epic used instead, thus passing the entire savings to their customers. 

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11 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

It was 25% more expensive to buy through Apple than directly from Epic. 

9.99 if you bought through Apple's payment API. 

7.99 if you bought through Epic directly. 

 

So it was most likely 25% plus a 5% payment fee from whatever payment processor Epic used instead, thus passing the entire savings to their customers. 

Ah,  yeah this appears to be correct (just read the original verge article again) 


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1 hour ago, Trik'Stari said:

But you know how it is with Apple users.

 

Dependency is security. Think different.

Goes to defining what security means for a given person.  I would say it’s noticability based in the case of Apple users.   They don’t worry about downloading malware apps like one might with say, the google store so this equates in their minds with higher security.  


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7 minutes ago, Bombastinator said:

Goes to defining what security means for a given person.  I would say it’s noticability based in the case of Apple users.   They don’t worry about downloading malware apps like one might with say, the google store so this equates in their minds with higher security.  

This is true to an extent, but I consider dependency on a single source to be an attack vector itself. Imagine if someone compromised the app store, or imagine if someone compromised the Windows Update system if you want another example.

 

And in my way of thinking, it's going to happen eventually. It's not a question of if, but rather when.

 

Another example of dependency, was those DDoS attacks back in the day on Xbox Live during Christmas (LizardSquad, I believe?). One PC you have the option of going to other servers/services. Steam is down? You can play on origin, etc.

 

I think of dependency as the illusion of security or reliability. Not to mention that the App Store has been compromised before.

 

Either system, Android or Apple, has it's advantages and disadvantages, but I prefer relying on my own awareness and having good browsing habits, over relying on another party to keep me secure. I would like to see that spread more widely.


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