Several app producing companies have joined together to create “The Coalition for App Fairness,” a group designed to take on Apple’s App Store.
The companies in the group include Spotify Technology, Tinder’s parent company Match Group Inc, ProtonMail email service owner Proton Technologies AG, trade group News Media Europe, project-management software maker Basecamp LLC, and Fortnite maker Epic Games Inc.
Epic Games made headlines last month when it publicly came out against Apple and Google over its removal from the companies’ app stores. Epic had added a new update to its app that allowed it to circumvent the 30 percent cut of that the big tech companies take on in-app purchases and transactions.
Epic is currently suing Apple over antitrust claims in a U.S. federal court in California. Spotify has also taken legal action against big tech, filing an antitrust complaint against Apple in the European Union.
The only way app producers are allowed to sell their products through the App Store is to comply with the large commission and the extensive rules and regulations.
“This app tax cuts deeply into consumer purchasing power and stifles developer revenue. This is especially unfair when this tax is imposed on apps competing directly with similar apps sold by Apple. This puts businesses at a distinct competitive disadvantage and thus drives up the prices for consumers,” said the company on its website.
The Coalition for App Fairness is a nonprofit registered in Washington, D.C. that made its public debut on Thursday. The group claims that most app stores collect excessive commissions from software developers on users’ digital purchases and stifle competition by giving unfair advantages to their own products and services. The group plans to push for legal and regulatory changes surrounding how big tech companies operate app stores.
“The gatekeeper platforms that operate these app stores must not abuse the control they enjoy and must adhere to oversight to ensure their behaviors promote a competitive market and provide consumers with equitable choice,” said a spokesperson for the coalition told The Wall Street Journal.
Part of the coalition’s platform is a list of ten demands it laid out on its website called the “App Store Principles.”
The demands include:
- That no app developer should be required to use an app store exclusively, including payment systems, to access the store.
- No developer should be blocked from an app store based on its business model.
- All developers should have timely access to the same interoperability interfaces and technical information as the app store owner’s own developers.
- The app store owner should be transparent about rules and policies.
- Several other demands relating to the app store owner not unfairly advantaging its own app creators.
The creation of the coalition comes at a time when Apple is facing significant public scrutiny from a variety of actors in the tech industry. In addition to coalition members, both Microsoft and Facebook have criticized Apple’s anti-competitive behavior.
Apple has taken several measures that have interfered with Facebook’s app for Apple users. Apple previously had denied Facebook the right to have Facebook Gaming available on the App Store five separate times before finally allowing it. Additionally, Apple’s new IOS14 update significantly impacts Facebook’s advertising capabilities with measures that affect targeted ads.