Airbnb and ClassPass are latest to speak out about Apple’s 30% sales fee

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Apple is demanding its usual fee for in-app sales.
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Airbnb and class-booking company ClassPass are the two latest companies to clash with Apple over the tech giant’s demands for a percentage of their in-app sales.

According to the New York Times, the two companies — reeling from the effects of coronavirus on their businesses — are upset that Apple is demanding a 30% cut of their sales for class-based online businesses both operate.

ClassPass has built its business around classes. Airbnb has, since 2016, moved into this area by offering Experiences. These allow people (and AirBnb) to earn money by doing something like hosting a cooking class or similar.

During COVID-19, both have been offering online virtual classes — which is where the problem comes in.

Apple’s demands for 30%

Both companies have now reportedly received requests from Apple for 30%. The newspaper article notes that, “Because the classes [ClassPass] sold on its iPhone app were now virtual, Apple said it was entitled to 30 percent of the sales, up from no fee previously, according to a person close to ClassPass who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of upsetting Apple. The iPhone maker said it was merely enforcing a decade-old rule.”

It’s a complex issue — and it comes at a tough time for all involved. Airbnb and ClassPass have seen revenue hit in a big way due to coronavirus. Now Apple is asking for money because they are offering digital products. Apple, on the other hand, is just doing what it has always done.

Adding to the complexity for Apple is its forthcoming antitrust hearing, set to take place tomorrow. A growing number of businesses have taken issue with Apple’s policy of charging a 30% cut for services sold via the App Store. Other notable companies include the likes of Spotify, along with smaller developers. Apple, for its part, has taken issue with developers who use its infrastructure without paying what Apple considers their rightful fee.