Founder and CEO, sorry Technoking of Tesla and SpaceX; Elon Musk took sides with Fortnite creator Epic games in the Games company’s fight with Apple, slamming Apple for charging developers a high 30% fees for distributing apps through Apple App Store, and describing Apple’s action as a “de facto global tax on the internet.”
In August last year, Apple removed the Fortnite game from App Store on claims that Epic Games violated policies, after Epic Games implemented its own in-app payment system that bypassed Apple’s standard 30 percent fee. The decision marked a significant escalation in the feud between Epic and Apple and prompted Epic games to file a lawsuit against Apple, alleging that the tech giant had abused its dominance in the mobile software marketplace.
While Elon Musk said that he enjoys using Apple devices, he feels that Apple is overcharging with App Store. “They are just obviously overcharging with App Store. I mean 30 percent fee for doing almost zero incremental work is completely unreasonable. Epic wouldn’t bother processing their own payments if App Store fees were fair,” he tweeted.
Apple app store fees are a de facto global tax on the Internet. Epic is right.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 30, 2021
“Normally, competitive pressure would force Apple to lower fees, but Apple & Android have a duopoly on phones. When interface familiarity is taken into account, it’s basically a monopoly,” Musk also said, while replying to a user on Twitter.
Epic Games lobbyists have debated that Apple’s strict control of app developers is monopolistic, and Apple, on the other hand, has defended its App Store practices both in court and to lawmakers in hearings. The lobbyists wants Apple to allow third-party app stores and APK file installation, similar to Android, and wants a bill to be passed that will allow users to download iOS apps on the iPhone without going through the App Store. The bill will also prevent companies like Apple from retaliating against developers who choose to use an alternative application store or in-application payment system.
Several companies including Epic Games, Spotify, Basecamp, Match Group, Tile, Blix, and Deezer have formed an alliance called the Coalition for App Fairness, a new group whose aim is to create a level playing field for app businesses and to give people freedom of choice on their devices. While most of the founding members have individually fought or are fighting with Apple over its App Store policies, the Coalition for App Fairness marks a more coordinated effort for developers to formally protest Apple’s rules. The organization provides a central platform for developers to join, especially those who may not be powerful enough to take on Apple alone.
Android’s open nature, unlike App Store, has allowed the platform to grow immensely, but has undeniably allowed the entry of rogue developers and apps. On the flip side, Apple’s strict nature might just be a blessing in disguise for iPhone users, as it protects them from rogue apps, malware and privacy issues.