Major news organizations join the fight against Apple’s App Store fees

Publishers want the same terms that Apple gave Amazon Prime Video.

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Vehicles drive past the New York Times headquarters in New York March 1, 2010. Shares of the U.S. media company rose to an intraday high of $12.16 on Monday, up more than 11 percent, propelled by a rumor that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim was seeking to buy the New York Times, where he became a minority stakeholder in 2008. Slim's spokesman has, however, said there is no change in the stake holding.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS MEDIA IMAGES OF THE DAY)
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News sites have joined Epic and Spotify in fighting Apple’s high App Store commissions (via the WSJ). A group representing the New York Times, WSJ and other major publishers wants Apple to reduce the 30 percent cut it currently takes on first year subscriptions. “The terms of Apple’s unique marketplace greatly impact the ability to continue to invest in high-quality, trusted news and entertainment particularly in competition with other larger firms,” said Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next (DCN).

Publishers are joining streaming, gaming and others in fighting Apple on its App Store terms. Fortnite publisher Epic sued Apple for acting as a monopoly after it removed the popular game. Epic later filed an injunction to stop Apple from pulling its developer tools in what Epic called a “retaliatory” measure. Microsoft has also criticized Apple over App Store terms that exclude xCloud, Stadia and any other cloud gaming services.

For news apps that offer subscription services, the App Store normally takes a 30 percent cut in the first year, then a 15 percent cut thereafter. However, DCN is arguing that Apple gave more favorable terms to Amazon with its Prime Video iOS app, taking only a 15 percent commission from the start — as revealed during recent congressional hearings. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post, which is part of the DCN group fighting Apple’s fees.)

“We would like to know what conditions our members — high quality digital content companies — would need to meet in order to qualify for the arrangement Amazon is receiving for its Amazon Prime Video app in the Apple App Store,” Kint wrote. “I ask that you clearly define the conditions that Amazon satisfied for its arrangement so that DCN’s member companies meeting those conditions can be offered the same agreement.”

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