Apple reduces App Store commission down to 15% for developers earning less than $1 million

After nearly 12 years since it launched, Apple is finally reducing their App Store commission down from 30% to 15% for developers who have earned less than $1 million in a financial year. This change in App Store policy comes at a time when Apple is fighting a major lawsuit against Epic Games, who accused Apple of anti-competitive restrictions in their marketplace.

The policy change is part of their new developer program, the details of which Apple laid out in a blog post:

  • Existing developers who made up to $1 million in 2020 for all of their apps, as well as developers new to the App Store, can qualify for the program and the reduced commission.
  • If a participating developer surpasses the $1 million threshold, the standard commission rate will apply for the remainder of the year.
  • If a developer’s business falls below the $1 million threshold in a future calendar year, they can requalify for the 15 percent commission the year after.

Commenting on this policy change, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple said:

Small businesses are the backbone of our global economy and the beating heart of innovation and opportunity in communities around the world. We’re launching this programme to help small business owners write the next chapter of creativity and prosperity on the App Store, and to build the kind of quality apps our customers love.

Apple had already been criticized for having high commissions before, so why did they decide to make this change after 12 years? Well for one, the Epic Games lawsuit has brought the issue to the spotlight and it might be making them nervous. Reducing the App Store commission for small developers, at least as a start, seems like a good idea to take some of the heat of their backs. Interestingly, this change will not benefit Epic Games directly as they make well over a million a year from just Fortnite alone on the App Store.