Airbnb, ClassPass Cry Foul Over Apple’s App Store Commissions

Apple Seeks Commission On Digital ClassPass, Airbnb Classes

Apple reportedly sought a commission from ClassPass and Airbnb after the platforms started to offer digital classes due to the pandemic, The New York Times reported.

The tech company told ClassPass that it should receive 30 percent of the sales as its classes offered via iPhone app were digital, according to an unnamed source in the report.

Airbnb received a similar communication from the tech company once it started an “online experiences” segment that provided offerings like culinary instruction, according to two unnamed sources in the report.

Apple has indicated that it was seeking to have a rule followed that has been in effect as of the release of its inaugural app standards a decade ago. It said not charging the commission would not be equitable.

“To ensure every developer can create and grow a successful business, Apple maintains a clear, consistent set of guidelines that apply equally to everyone,” Apple said in a statement, per the report.

The news follows a June 16 announcement of the European Union opening two antitrust probes into Apple, with an emphasis on Apple Pay and the firm’s App Store.

“It appears that Apple sets the conditions on how Apple Pay should be used in merchants’ apps and websites,” said European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, who focuses on competition policy. “It also reserves the ‘tap and go’ functionality of iPhones to Apple Pay.”

In January, ClassPass had secured $285 million in an Apax Digital and L Catterton-led Series E funding round, with support from current investor Temasek. The funds came after the startup’s international expansion into 28 nations and partnerships with more than 1,000 employers for its business wellness offering.

And, in July, news surfaced that Airbnb had received a special opportunity to go public. CEO Brian Chesky said his firm had been approached about a merger with a blank-check acquisition company.

“We’re looking at everything,” Chesky said. “So, I probably shouldn’t speculate too much on it.”



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.