Russia could force Apple to reduce App Store commission to 20%

Last month we learned Russia found Apple guilty of anti-competitive practices based on how it has handled third-party parental control apps. In a separate, but somewhat related development, a new bill has been submitted to the lower Russian Parliament to cap Apple’s App Store commission at 20%.

Reported by Reuters, the Russian Parliament will soon vote on whether or not to limit the commission companies like Apple and Google take from app sales.

The bill, submitted to Russia’s lower house of parliament by lawmaker Fedot Tumusov, stipulates that commissions on the sale of applications be capped at 20%. Apple currently collects a 30% commission on sales in its App Store.

But beyond just lowering the maximum commission, the bill, if passed, would make companies like Apple “pay a third of their commissions to a special training fund for IT specialists on a quarterly basis.”

Tumusov also shared on social media that “Lowering the commission and having the ability to bring products to users is a growth opportunity for IT developers.”

This would be a very notable bill if approved, as many countries around the world are scrutinizing Apple over antitrust concerns, mostly around its App Store practices. While the 30% App Store commission has been questioned as recently as Congress’ big tech antitrust hearing that Tim Cook testified at, there haven’t been any laws passed yet clamping down on big tech’s app commissions. Apple’s response usually includes that 30% is a market norm.

While Apple’s 30% App Store commission is often cited regarding antitrust discussions, another major part is concerns about the control Apple has over developers and how apps are approved through its App Store review process.

As my colleague Ben Lovejoy detailed as Facebook just complained about Apple’s 30% App Store commission, here’s a summary of Apple’s antitrust pressure:

Apple is facing a slew of antitrust investigations and lawsuits around the world, mostly related to App Store policies and commissions. There are multiple EU investigations, Congress, the Department of Justice, a number of US states, France, Japan, South Korea, and Russia. It has faced criticism, lawsuits, and complaints from a number of high-profile developers, including TileSpotifyHey, and Epic Games. Most recently, the US House antitrust inquiry found ‘deeply disturbing’ anti-competitive behavior by Apple and other tech giants.

As for the Russian ruling that Apple acted anticompetitively regarding third-party parental control apps, Apple has appealed the verdict, so the final outcome has yet to be determined.

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