That policy lasted for a mere five months until Apple opened the floodgates and allowed free apps to add optional purchases, which have dominated the App Store and Play Store charts — and net gross — ever since.
But as business models changed and the amount of money that followed through apps grew, Apple started to tighten its grip. In 2011, Apple amended the App Store rules to bar developers from selling subscriptions or in-app purchases unless they were sold through Apple’s system (and submitted to Apple’s 30 percent tax).
Some companies, like Netflix and Hulu, complied with the change. Others, like Spotify, charged a premium on iOS to account for the extra fee and encouraged customers to subscribe directly elsewhere. And others, like Amazon, dug in their heels, refused to pay Apple’s fee, and removed the ability to purchase content in their apps entirely. (To date, Amazon’s iOS Kindle app still has no option to purchase books directly, although Amazon has managed to cut a special deal with Apple for its Prime Video app.)
As the market for apps has continued to change and developers struggled to monetize, Apple has tried to push for subscription costs for apps (spanning huge apps like Microsoft Office and Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite to popular apps like Fantastical to one-man-teams like Carrot Weather). It’s the same logic driving Apple’s own pursuit of subscriptions: getting users to pay continuously for services means increased fortnite v bucks generator revenue. Apple even went as far as to lower its 30 percent take down to 15 percent after a year for developers willing to commit to subscriptions. (After all, 15 percent of a recurring fee that’s charged for years is far better than 30 percent of an upfront cost once.)
Those policies have worked wonders for Apple: today, nearly every top-grossing app on the platform is either a subscription or a service; and while Apple says that the App Store had paid out $120 billion to developers in 2019, it neglected to mention that it’s also netted the company roughly $51 billion over the lifetime of the store. “Upkeep,” indeed.
APPLE’S “SERVICES” IS THE APP STORE, AND THE APP STORE IS ‘FORTNITE’
The net result of all these years of growth is that the App Store has become too big a part of Apple’s identity to give up now. Apple may fancy itself a Hollywood savant with Apple TV Plus or a creative haven with Apple Arcade, but the core business is much simpler. Apple sells iPhones, and then it makes App Store money from the free-to-play games and subscription services that run on those iPhones. And as iPhone growth has slowed, the importance of that second business has only grown. There may come a time when Apple’s other subscription offerings are able to carry the company forward, but it’s not today.
For now, though, Apple’s “services” is the App Store, and the App Store is Apple’s fee from free-to-play games like Fortnite. That means Apple likely isn’t going to give in to Epic’s protests here without a fight — for a revenue source this important, it doesn’t have a choice.