Mobile Commerce

New Coalition Blasts Apple’s App Store Over 'Excessive’ Fees

App Store and Google Play

A new front in the battle between Apple’s App Store and the maker of “Fortnite” has opened up as app makers have formed a new trade group.

The nonprofit Coalition for App Fairness emerged Thursday (Sept. 24) and reportedly plans to push for legal and regulatory changes as to how the big app stores, in particular, do business. The other big app store is run by Google. The coalition blasts Apple, saying “no app store should charge unreasonable or excessive fees.”

The coalition includes such companies as Spotify, Tinder owner Match Group and Epic Games, maker of “Fortnite.” The new group’s website says it “is an independent nonprofit organization founded by industry-leading companies to advocate for freedom of choice and fair competition across the app ecosystem.”

The group argues on its website that, currently, “One company has near total control over the mobile ecosystem and what apps consumers get to use. After nearly a decade with no oversight, regulation, or fair competition, it’s time for Apple to be held accountable.”

A coalition spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal that the group was formed in August as the result of a shared desire for change. The group argues that most app stores collect excessive commissions from app developers on their users’ digital purchases — even while undermining the competition by giving unfair advantages to their own products and services.

The Journal reported that founding members of the new coalition also include Proton Technologies AG, trade group News Media Europe and project management software maker Basecamp.

Before the anticipated rollout of iOS 14 later this month, Apple updated its App Store guidelines. The updates allow, for example, digital one-on-one classes, such as exercise instruction, to circumvent Apple for payment. They also offer more flexibility for game-streaming platforms such as Microsoft xCloud and Google Stadia.

In September, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he thinks that the App Store “deserves scrutiny.” In an interview with “Axios on HBO,” Zuckerberg said, “there are questions that people should be looking into about that control of the App Store and whether that is enabling … a competitive dynamic.”

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