Russian Draft Bill Threatens Apple’s and Google’s 30% Cut on Their App Stores

By Bill Toulas / September 2, 2020

The Russians have decided to take action against what they see as anti-competitive and monopolistic practices, so they have introduced a draft bill that would cap all commissions on app stores at 20%. If the draft passes into law, tech giants like Apple and Google will lose one-third of the profits they make from in-app purchases in the Russian market. Moreover, it would act as an example for other countries to follow in a period when the criticism over the 30% cut is burning hot.

The most critical points in the law draft were also confirmed by the Russian State Duma member Fedor Tumosov, who wrote a lengthy explanatory post on Instagram. As the politician said, having to pay the company that created the phone a commission every time the user wants to install a program in it cannot be considered a “normal situation.”

Hence, courts and parliaments all over the world have to take action against this practice. As the man said, developers should be allowed to work for themselves and not for their uncle (i.e., Apple and Google).

Finally, Tumosov revealed his concerns about losing iPhones due to Apple deciding to retract their products from the Russian market. He stated that this trend against anti-competitive practices is worldwide, and it just happens that Russia wishes to be at the forefront of the developments and not stay behind.

In addition to the commission blow, the lawmakers have also targeted the obstruction towards the installation of third-party apps like Kaspersky AV, for example. This clause is based on a previous decision by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) in Russia, who demanded that Apple begins to openly offer all hardware, firmware, and OS capabilities to third-party developers without limitations.

Moreover, Apple should no longer place its own applications in a more privileged position or place barriers to other companies. This includes app stores, so it could mean that Apple would be obliged to allow third-party app stores to be installed on otherwise locked iPhones.

Apple has already appealed that decision, so the situation is not clear, and the legal case is ongoing. In the meantime, the tech giant has called developers to share their thoughts on the new App Store guidelines, which are constantly under review. This was a move to help the company touch the developer community and make them feel that they are part of the ecosystem and appreciated. As long as the 30% cut stays, though, extinguishing the spreading fire of objection will be hard.

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