Russian law could force Apple to cut App Store fee to 20 percent

It's just a proposal for now, but it speaks volumes about current sentiment.

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Daniel Cooper
September 2nd, 2020
HONG KONG, CHINA - 2020/08/18: American multinational technology company Apple store and logo seen in Hong Kong. (Photo by Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
SOPA Images via Getty Images

A Russian lawmaker has proposed a bill that would see all app store transactions capped at 20 percent,  down from the usual 30 percent. Reuters is reporting that Fedot Tumusov, a member of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house in its parliament, has tabled the law. At the same time, it would mandate that a third of the app store commission would be paid to the government as part of a fund to train people in IT.

Apple, Google, Valve and other companies that run software stores have a fairly common practice of taking a 30 percent cut from each transaction. This has become an increasingly-contentious issue, especially with Apple, as more developers and regulators complain that it is unfair. Discussion about the rules, in both the US and Europe, with strong backing from rival software companies like Epic, will continue to rumble.

Last month, Russia’s antitrust authority found that Apple had overstepped its bounds when blocking a Kaspersky-made app to control kids’ screen time. At the time, Apple said that it would appeal its decision and it will likely spend the near future fighting battles over control of the App Store all around the world.

It’s not clear how much support Tumusov’s proposal has, given that he is not a member of United Russia, the country’s ruling party. Although given the general sentiment against Apple -- and other companies running app stores -- it’s certainly plausible that others will support the motion. 

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