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Spotify, Match Join a Challenge to Apple's App Store Practices

By Rich Duprey – Updated Sep 24, 2020 at 10:47AM

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Epic Games' fight with Apple has inspired a growing group of developers that seek legal and regulatory limits on the tech giant's control.

Apple (AAPL 1.37%) faces a growing storm over its App Store policies even as it battles Epic Games in court over the Fortnite game developer's end run around Apple's payment policies.

Spotify (SPOT 0.93%) and Match Group (MTCH 3.63%) are helping launch a coalition of app developers that will seek legal and regulatory challenges to the Apple app ecosystem, Reuters reported today.

Apps swirling around a smartphone

Image source: Getty Images.

One of the primary issues for the Coalition for App Fairness, as the group calls itself, is what it calls the "30% app tax," the fee that Apple charges developers for most purchases made within its App Store.

Calling it "highway robbery" and saying the fees account for a large portion of developer revenue, the group says it puts developers at a competitive disadvantage and raises costs for consumers. It quotes Steve Jobs as being unconcerned about the harm it would cause when he introduced the policy: "Bottom line: We didn't have a policy and now we do, and there will be some roadkill because of it. I don't feel guilty."

The coalition has a set of 10 principles, the first of which is that no developer should be forced to exclusively use an app store, or its payment systems, in order to access it. This mirrors the battle that Epic Games, which is also a coalition member, is mounting against Apple, and it is something that developers have chafed under for years.

The group has enlisted the support of some high-profile tech companies whose apps appear in the App Store, but also includes smaller outfits including the developer Basecamp, the European Publishers Council, and the email encryption service ProtonMail.

The group says it will seek out change through the courts and with regulators to force Apple to open the App Store to competitive forces.

Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple, Match Group, Inc., and Spotify Technology. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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