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Apple won’t collect fees on paid Facebook events until 2021

Unless those events are hosted by Facebook Gaming creators.
Christine Fisher, @cfisherwrites
September 25, 2020
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Last month, Facebook and Apple clashed over App Store fees. Now, Apple seems to be easing up slightly. Businesses that host paid online events through Facebook on iOS will be able to keep all of their earnings (minus taxes), Facebook announced today. Apple will not collect its usual 30 percent commission on in-app purchases, but there are a few conditions.

As you might remember, this summer, Facebook announced a new feature that allows businesses and creators to charge for online events hosted on the platform. Facebook said it wouldn’t collect fees from the events “for at least the next year.” But Facebook couldn’t convince Apple to waive its 30 percent fee or allow iOS users to use Facebook Pay, so that Facebook could absorb the costs for businesses. Facebook spoke out against Apple and its App Store fees.

Now, Apple has agreed to let Facebook Pay process all paid online event purchases. This means Facebook can absorb the cost, and Apple won’t get a cut. But this agreement only lasts until December 31st.

“Apple has agreed to provide a brief, three-month respite after which struggling businesses will have to, yet again, pay Apple the full 30 percent App Store tax,” a Facebook spokesperson said. Facebook will not collect fees until August 2021.

The other big catch is that Facebook Gaming creators are left out of the deal. They’ll still have to hand over 30 percent of earnings that come through the iOS app.

“Apple’s decision to not collect its 30 percent tax on paid online events comes with a catch: gaming creators are excluded from using Facebook Pay in paid online events on iOS,” said Vivek Sharma, VP of Facebook Gaming. “We unfortunately had to make this concession to get the temporary reprieve for other businesses.”

These battles over App Store fees are becoming more common. Sometimes they go better than others. Epic is now embroiled in a nasty legal battle with Apple, but Basecamp found a way to skirt Apple’s rules to get its Hey email app approved. Just yesterday, Epic, Spotify and others announced The Coalition for App Fairness, an alliance formed to pressure Apple and Google to change their app store rules.

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