A letter signed by a trade group that represents top newspapers including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and the Washington Post says that Apple’s rules prevent them from investing in quality journalism. Among other changes, the letter asks for Apple’s cut of in-app purchases to be reduced to 15%.
Currently, Apple charges 30% commission on the first year of an in-app subscription. It then reduces its cut to 15% if the customer continues their subscription beyond that time. The news publishers are asking for Apple to change its policies so it only takes a 15% cut from the beginning.
If Apple is really taking a principled stand in certain places – device security, being the flagship one; software quality, perhaps a runner up – it would be great move to prioritize quality journalism as something where it says “this is an important thing our users should have”. That may not equate to charging no commission to newspaper publishers, but you’d think they could cut it down from 30%.
10% to those “quality news publications” which provide a “valuable public service” to everyone. To inform us, to educate us, to expose the reality of the world. That’s very principled.
Apple, the Corportation, is not very principled. There are some people at Apple who are principled, and we see their vision come through in certain places such as security and software quality. But to personify the Corporation itself is to make a grave error.
Reduce App Store commissions, primarily by allowing competition in key areas. Payment providers. Side-loading. Maybe (but not in the first wave) alternate app stores.