As part of its ongoing antitrust investigation, the Department of Justice is examining Apple’s rules for the App Store, specifically the rule that requires developers to use App Store payments for in-app purchases (via Bloomberg).
Apple’s 30% Tax
Often referred to as the “Apple tax” Apple pockets 30% of revenue when apps use the company’s payment system. The Department of Justice has been interviewing developers since mid-2019 about the App Store review process, among other subjects, “according to people familiar with the matter.”
In early conversations with the Justice Department, at least one developer was asked if Apple lowering its 30% cut would solve its concerns, but the person said the problem is less the commission and more that Apple doesn’t allow an alternate payment system.
Apple isn’t the only target of these inquiries. The Department of Justice is also scrutinizing Google’s dominance in search engines as well as its own Google Play app market.
On June 16, the European Union also launched investigations into Apple, to examine if the App Store violates EU antitrust rules. Apple Pay is being investigated too, amid concerns that Apple’s payment service dominates the contactless payment industry. Apple restricts third-party usage of NFC, which is the de facto standard with rival contactless payment apps.