There’s been a huge backlash recently from companies who are furious at the tax they must pay to make their apps available on both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. Both app markets are the ideal place to connect a consumer with an app, but due to the rising costs, companies are now complaining that they’re being charged way too much, and many are no exploring alternative ways to get their app to market.
Epic Games, the creator of hit game Fortnite, only earlier this year announced the great news of the game being available to mobiles worldwide; which naturally would have been listed in the App and Play stores. However, in light of this tax issue, Epic Games are now one of the companies who have taken alternative measures to avoid the costs of shelling out to have the mobile version of their Battle Royale title. While Fortnite is available on Apple’s App Store, Android users will only be able to obtain the game via an emailed download link. Streaming giants Netflix, as well as Valve are also looking at ways to bring their respective apps to market, without paying the excessive tolls demanded by Apple and Google.
It seems a far cry from when Apple and Google launched their app stores around a decade ago. They were seen as assisting the growth of an app economy, while also being the platforms that saw the rise of thousands of apps, with numerous success stories. Now, it seems, that their plan may have been to help the respective markets grow before reaping the huge financial rewards that come with it, with both companies said to be raking in up to 30% of the money that a customer pays to the app developer.
There have long been complaints over both markets, with an incident recently which saw Apple take a U-turn on their decision to allow gambling apps to be available for users in their App Store. After reversing their decision, apps were removed, but in many cases apps that hadn’t broken any platform policies were also banned by the tech giants. These latest complaints are on a whole new level though, with many developers feeling these current fees were unsustainable, while it seems both Apple and Google are unwilling to budge on their current demands due to the hit they would take in earnings.
In many ways, Apple and Google are middlemen when it comes to getting apps out there for people to download and use. Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney recently said that the 30% fee demanded is a “high cost,” especially as game creators have the expense of developing the game, operating it and they also have to provide ongoing support too. He went on to add that “middlemen distributors are no longer required,” which is likely to be a thought shared by many in the tech industry going forward.
The current stumbling block is that without the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, a lot of publishers wouldn’t see their content make it, as these markets are still the most powerful distribution channels around. Maybe, there should be a rethink by Apple and Google, one that sees all parties satisfied.