They could stick with the status quo App Store system and continue paying Apple up to a 30 percent commission of all sales. Alternatively, they could reduce their commission to 17 percent, while taking on a new 50-euro-cent charge on every download above one million annually. Or they could avoid Apple’s commission by distributing through a competing app store, while still paying Apple’s download fee.
After doing the math, many developers said Apple was offering a worse alternative. Several pointed out that a maker of a free app with 10 million downloads a year that opted to distribute through a competing app store would owe Apple about $400,000 a month because of the new 50-euro-cent fee, according to a fee calculator that Apple released. That essentially guaranteed that they would stay with the existing App Store model, where they can distribute free, rather than sell through alternative marketplaces.
Spotify, the streaming music app that filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in Europe, said it might abandon plans to add credit card payments for audiobooks and subscriptions because of the fees.
Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, which sued Apple in 2020, said it had major questions around its plans to release a new game store because Apple’s plan would give it the power to vet and approve competing app stores. And Hey.com, an email and calendar service, said the proposal had upended its plan to distribute software directly to users, which Apple isn’t making possible.
“This can’t be what the European Commission meant because it doesn’t change the fundamental dynamics,” said David Heinemeier Hansson, one of the founders of Hey.com. “Apple has made the provisions so poisonous and the bar so high that it’s clear no one should ever use this.”