The domestic application channel is as high as 50%. Is the current “app store tax” reasonable?

When it comes to the App Store, some people think of "Apple Tax."

If you search for the topic of "Apple Tax", you will find that many people hold negative comments, believing that the App Store's 30% commission is a kind of behavior that uses the system's closedness to obtain illegitimate benefits.

There are opponents and there are pros. Some people think that Apple provides an excellent system experience, has a fairly complete developer support system, and provides a lot of high-quality development tools and courses. The appropriate percentage is acceptable.

For this reason, the two sides quarreled wildly online.

Today, we want to let go of our emotions and start from the matter itself and see how the various app stores on the domestic mainland market are raked in.

Rake? More than App Store

We selected mainstream app stores in the market and summarized their rake or fee information. At the same time, considering the importance and special significance of the Google App Store to Android, we especially included it in the comparison.

▲ As some application stores have not announced the quotation document page, the quotation percentage in the table is provided to the industry, and there may be a problem of lagging time. You are welcome to add in the comment area. In addition, some Android app stores will charge an additional channel fee of about 25%

It can be seen that the rake is not the "exclusive behavior" of the App Store. The rake range and ratio of each app store are different, and even some app stores have higher rake than the App Store, which is obviously based on their own circumstances. Strategy .

Why are people dissatisfied with the rake?

Since every app store has a rake, and some Android app stores even have a rake of more than 50%, why is the "Apple Tax" criticized while other app stores are fine?

The reason is that many users find that the application fee on Apple phones is higher than that on Android phones, and many businesses give the answer because the App Store will charge 30%.

▲ The same VIP, different charges. Picture from: Hulu Junshi (Zhihu)

The free and fragmented ecology of Android makes the app store far less binding than the App Store on a global scale. Some app developers choose to bypass the designated payment channels of the app store to charge users, avoiding the commission and avoiding this. Part of the cost.

"Our cost is there. It is impossible to subsidize 30% of the rake to users. We want to make money. Not to mention making more and less, at least we have to survive." An operator of a paid iOS browser said Said.

▲ The Apple Developer Program has more than 28 million members. Picture from: Apple's official website

Aifaner investigated some apps and found that the charges for some apps do show that "Apple is more expensive, Android and web pages are cheaper". For example, in the tick list, the annual fee for iOS is 168 yuan, while the webpage shows that the annual fee is only 139 yuan.

Buying the same product, enjoying the same service, but spending more money than others, no one can be happy.

App vendors are also dissatisfied with the rake

Not only are individuals unhappy with the app store’s rake, but some app developers are also.

In March 2019, the music streaming platform Spotify sued the European Union that Apple required it to pay with in-app purchases, had to pay Apple a 30% rake, and restricted app developers from informing users of other payment methods.

In early August last year, Epic Games challenged Apple and Google to sell the game "Fortnite" directly to users, publicly violating the App Store's payment rules. Later, Apple removed the game from the App Store. Epic Games took Apple to court in a fit of anger, arguing that the "Apple tax" was unreasonable.

In September last year, Xiaomi Game Center and Huawei Game Center issued official announcements one after another, stating that they could not provide download services for the two popular new online games of "Awakening of Nations" and "Yuanshen".

According to people familiar with the matter, Shanghai Lilith Networks, the developer and publisher of "The Awakening of Nations", had hoped to share a 3:7 split with the application channel, but the two parties did not finally agree.

The dispute between "Yuan Shen" and the domestic app store can be described as exciting.

▲ "The Original God"

The strong Mihayou hopes that the "Yuan Shen" will be divided into 3:7 (the domestic rule is 5:5), which is rejected by the domestic app store. After the release of "Yuan Shen", it swept the global market with a monthly income of over 1 billion yuan. Mihayou highly rejected the channel service, saying that it would not be available in domestic app stores.

A few months later, the app store couldn’t sit still watching the white division slip away, and the popularity of "Original God" also declined. More channels of publicity were needed to maintain the popularity, so the two sides hit it off. "Original God" was released on the shelves. app Store.

According to the "Wall Street Insights" report, "Original God" finally negotiated a 3:7 division, breaking the 5:5 game division rule . This division and recombination turned out to be the fault of division.

On January 1, 2021, Huawei issued an official announcement in the game center community to completely remove Tencent games from Huawei’s platform . The reason given was: Tencent Games unilaterally made major changes to the cooperation between the two parties, resulting in significant changes in the continued cooperation between the two parties. obstacle.

The market has a lot of speculation on this matter, and the more popular speculation is that it is because the game sharing between the two parties has not been negotiated. Fortunately, Tencent Games returned to the Huawei App Store.

It can be seen that application developers also do not like application store commissions . In a sense, the interests of application developers and individual users are on the "same front."

What's the reason for the rake?

At the antitrust hearing held in the United States on July 30, 2020, Apple CEO Cook made it clear:

Apple’s commissions are at the same level or lower than those charged by most competitors. Before Apple launched the App Store, software developers had to pay 50%-70% for publishing their works, and Apple’s commissions were much lower than this. .

In the more than ten years since the launch of the App Store, Apple has never raised commissions or increased a single fee. In fact, Apple has cut the revenue share it extracts when subscribing, and provides share exemptions for more types of applications. The App Store keeps pace with the times, and each change is based on "providing a better experience for users and providing developers with "Attractive business opportunities" as the guiding principle.

These remarks were more euphemistic and conveyed two messages: "Apple tax" is not high, and "Apple tax" is reasonable.

▲ The App Store introduction page states what work I have done, such as support for technology, customer service, courses, etc. Image from: Apple's official website

Thanks to the lobbying efforts of the Coalition for App Fairness, the Arizona House of Representatives recently passed a bill against the "Apple Tax."

In response to this result, Apple’s Chief Compliance Officer Kyle Andeer said:

This is equivalent to "the government requires Apple to provide the Apple App Store for free." This will allow large developers to get all the value of the App Store for free – even if they sell digital products, even if they make millions or even billions of dollars in this way.

At the same time Andil also emphasized that many people currently have a misunderstanding about the App Store:

Apple’s app store provides great value to developers, and this seems to be overlooked by many: some special interest groups describe commissions as "payment of fees"-as if Apple just swiped a credit card. This is very misleading. Apple provides developers with great value-we not only allow developers' applications to be distributed in stores around the world, but also provide a studio for developing applications. This is the value reflected by this commission.

▲ It is an indisputable fact that Apple provides developers with development tools, technical documentation, after-sales customer service and many other support. The level is first-class in the industry. This is an indisputable fact. Picture from: Apple's official website

Most app stores should think this way. The commissions or fees are because the development, operation and maintenance of app stores have to pay countless ongoing costs, which should be borne by the merchants who enter the market to make money.

But from the user's point of view, users often regard the app store as part of the system, thinking that they have already paid for the hardware and should not directly or indirectly charge for the second time. This is the contradiction.

The rake has finally fallen

Many application developers have expressed their views on the rake, "(Rake) small factories that are not well-known will be harmed to some extent." Small developers themselves have low incomes, and 30% of the rake is difficult. To survive, "one size fits all" is indeed difficult for the smallest developers to accept, and for large application developers, it also directly affects their interests.

NetEase CEO Ding Lei even publicly "blasted" the game percentage of domestic app stores, which is about 20% more expensive than Apple. He believes that the current share ecosystem is unhealthy and is very detrimental to the industrial ecosystem. He hopes that the Android market will be able to Keep up with international standards in game division.

It is precisely seeing the dissatisfaction of app developers and users that some app stores have begun to act.

At the press conference, Huawei announced that the HMS (Hongmeng) ecological future will be a three-part world with Apple and Google, and the income of developers in overseas markets will be 15%, which is only half of Apple and Google.

Apple also announced that starting from 2021, the commission for small businesses or independent developers with an annual income of less than US$1 million will be reduced from 30% to 15%.

Competition in the mobile phone market is becoming increasingly fierce, and the ever-changing trends are also pushing businesses forward. It will only become more difficult to rely on the moat built by the ecosystem and the system to "make money".

For large-scale app stores, you can try to start from the overall situation, innovate the profit model of the app store, or adjust the profit model of software and hardware products, which may be able to better solve the current increasingly prominent "app store tax". "problem.

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