Here’s How Developers Feel About Apple’s App Store Commission

Last week, we asked whether you thought Apple charges developers too much to post their apps and services to the App Store.

Based on your responses, the answer is… no. Take a look at the breakdown below; some 52.31 percent of respondents didn’t think Apple charges too much of a commission. Meanwhile, 47.69 percent agree with Farhad Manjoo’s statement in a recent New York Times column that the so-called “Apple tax” is a “costly drag” for developers building products for the iOS and iPadOS ecosystem.

The percentage of “no” might be surprising—who likes giving up a hefty percentage of their earnings to a company, even one hosting their apps? So let’s break down our methodology a bit: Out of 198 responses (a pretty small sample size), 68 came from a Qzzr quiz embedded in last week’s article, and the rest came from quizzes posted on Dice’s social media accounts (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). 

Via Qzzr, some 70 percent of respondents said “no.” Via social media, though, only 18.8 percent of respondents said “no.” We’d be naïve if we didn’t acknowledge the possibility that someone (or a small group) may have attempted to game the Qzzr quiz by selecting “no” repeatedly, but if we set that aside, there’s a real dichotomy here. Maybe a significant percentage of developers really don’t mind sacrificing as much as 30 percent of their earnings in exchange for Apple’s services.  

Despite many developers’ irritation over app commissions, it doesn’t seem like Apple will substantially lower them anytime soon. The company is currently locked in a high-profile court battle with Epic Games (the creator of the ultra-popular “Fortnite” and other interactive entertainment), which is arguing that App Store policies give Apple an unfair monopoly on the mobile-software market. The European Union is also investigating Apple’s App Store practices, including its policies around in-app purchases.

For its part, Apple argues that its fees on apps and subscriptions allows it to offer iOS users a safe, curated experience. The company is aware of developers’ ire over the fees; last year’s App Store Small Business Program lowered its cut of developers’ sales from 30 percent to 15 percent, provided those developers make less than $1 million in annual sales. Based on our own survey data (as imperfect as it may be), it seems some developers genuinely don’t mind giving up that cash.