August 14, 2020

What to do think of this #FreeFortnite battle with Apple?

Sunim @aryaminus

Have you been feeling the same that you have to give a 30% cut is a way huge amount?

I've felt that myself

  1. 4

    I don't think the 30% per se is the problem. Any company can ask as much as they want as long as they find someone who pays...

    The problem is the monopoly that Apple has with the store and the fact that there are no alternatives in the Apple ecosystem.

    • Don't like the 30% but you have a different payment solution? Too bad
    • Don't want to support sign-in with Apple? Too bad

    They're abusing their position to force everyone to do things that benefit Apple and block anything that would disadvantage them (see Hey dot com, Microsoft xCloud, Facebook Gaming, etc).

    The Fortnite case is a classic example of marketplace disintermediation. The marketplace doesn't provide enough incentive past the initial transaction for any side to stay on it, so they take the transaction off the marketplace in a way that benefits both of them. In this particular case: Epic get 10% more money, and the player pays 20% less.

    1. 2

      At the heart of it, Fortnite's argument, much like Hey's, rests on the idea that Apple is a monopoly. And I don't buy that. Fortnite is available on Windows, macOS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. Not to mention Android.

      Therefore, I think it is perfectly okay what Apple is doing. They are under no obligation to cave in. No one talks about the billions in R&D Apple risked to build these platforms. And still, they only have ~18% market share globally.

      1. 1

        My argument was not about Apple in the platforms ecosystem but rather about the inside of the Apple ecosystem. If you want to do anything on Apple platforms, you have to obey any rule imposed by Apple because you don't have an alternative. That's the monopoly

        1. 1

          But if I am understanding you correctly, that's like saying I want an alternative to Apple which is also Apple... you can't have your cake and eat it too.

      2. 1

        Apple charge a developer fee, then take a cut on sales and any other transaction. Thats a lot of fingers in the same pie. Not saying they cant.. just it feels crappy.

        I think for me the issue is really around the apps that are actually being used now... the number of apps that are actually generating revenue at scale on the app store are the big brand apps. The store and competition has changes so much.

        That means that the smaller developers, that helped build the app store, really have a very slim chance now.

        I think a new pricing structure, or price drop would help spur on the app store rather than hurt it.

  2. 3

    Worth to notice that they are suing Google too.

  3. 2

    The 30% cut is not the issues, it's the lack of choice. As others have pointed out Google and Microsoft are also taking a 30% cut the difference here is that you don't have to use their infrastructure to distribute your apps. Epic violated Googles App Store policy as well and got kicked out, but you can still download the game from the epic website, good luck trying to do that on iOS....

    Like seriously people pay hundreds of dollars for a phone/tablet and they won't let you do whatever you want with it citing "privacy" and "security" reasons, does Apple have so little respect for their users?

    But what really angers me about this whole situation is that Apple is so focused on their 30% cut, that they are essentially trying to kill mobile web apps. The only browser engine that you can install on iOS is WebKit and guess which browser does not implement advanced API's to create app like experiences....

  4. 2

    Can you Imagine a PC manufacturer demanding such fee for Softwares using their hardware 10 years back? Microsoft had to enable Internet Explorer on MacOS(Their biggest strategic achievement to prevent class-action as Monopoly).

    Although apps, incl. Fortnite had been beneficiaries of Appstore/Playstore unlike a poor developer without marketing budget or network, I'm glad they are taking a stand at least now when their profit margins are getting affected by that 30%.

    But for an indie hacker, where ever they are its good if the duoploy starts to show some accountability from these issues and to consider alternate modes of distribution of their application such as web app.

    P.S. I started my career as mobile app developer right from J2ME days to every major platform. But, I believe AppStore/Playstore which ever platform they are in have become counter-intuitive and a threat to the mobile computing itself.

  5. 2

    I can't influence it at all, and it is distracting from building value and shipping. I muted all the terms on Twitter.

  6. 2

    Epic: Hi Apple, I would like to distribute my app to your 1B+ active devices but I want to use my payment system instead.
    Apple: Sure, no pro... wait, what?

    I find it interesting that the rule of thumb in retail is Keystone pricing (retailers buy products for $10 from suppliers, then sell for $20 retail) or even the "Double Keystone" (foregoing the suppliers and buying directly from manufacturers at $5 and still retailing at $20).

    The Keystone practice is so common, it's become invisible at this point. We're talking multiples more in profits, not a mere 30% share.

    Being the storefront who welcomes customers and handles the cash has tremendous value.

    Question is this: Does it seem unfair to you to pay $0 upfront with 30% revenue share to reach 1B+ devices?

  7. 1

    Imagine if we didn't have the web, had to rely on Microsoft Store to distribute our software, and had to pay 30% to process our payments without the option of using something like Stripe.

    Can you imagine it? They built the Windows and the Store, so it is fair, right?

    Damn I love the web and have no sympathy for Apple.

  8. 1

    This situation is same on Google Admob. Google is cutting off %32 of your revenue. And you know Google Admob is free. Why nobody is talk this situation?

  9. 1

    At the end of the day, it is jostling to get a bigger piece of the pie. Apple wants it, Epic wants it, and so does everybody else.

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