Statement | ADIF credits developer efforts for denting Apple's monopoly practices; calls for all restrictive practices in the app economy to be done away with

"This comes as a major victory for the developer and startup community who have been vocal against the restrictive and anti-competitive practices of AppStore/PlayStore."

It is encouraging to see that Apple has taken the first credible step to move away from its desire to earn commission on every dollar made by app developers on their store. 

It has deleted the contentious clause (3.1.3) which was being used by Apple to maintain a stronghold on the developers in order to make them cough up hefty commissions. The changes announced to the AppStore guidelines have put an end to the company’s restrictive and anti-competitive practice of blocking developers from communicating with their own customers and directing them to other payment options of their choice. 

The fact that Apple has relented, is the result of the concerted and collective actions of various stakeholders of the app ecosystem, right from developers to industry bodies to regulators around the globe - the pioneering work by the Coalition for App Fairness (CAF) also deserves special mention. The revisions are also in alignment with the recent ruling by a US court.

The development opens the door for developers to opt for payment providers of their choice and to extend their services to Apple without having to be forced to pay a toll. This change results in AppStore being a much fairer marketplace. 

“This comes as a major victory for the developer and startup community who have been vocal against the restrictive and anti-competitive practices of the two big tech majors through their AppStore/PlayStore policies.

Having said that, practices that restrict app developers with their product and user experience choices still persist. For instance, Apple has still not relented on allowing alternative payment systems to be embedded directly in their apps. 

It is crucial now to ensure that the efforts towards making the app economy a fair marketplace are sustained. It is only when all such restrictive practices are also done away with that the app marketplace can be deemed a true level playing field that allows for innovation to thrive.” 

Sijo Kuruvilla George, Executive Director, ADIF

The development will also come as an additional strain on Google’s dogged efforts towards implementing their stated policy of enforcing their own in-app billing system by March 2022. Google was in recent times seen to match and mirror Apple point to point as far as billing and payment policies on their PlayStore goes. Should Google look to match this policy of Apple as well, it would render their announcement with the March 2022 deadline moot. 

Founded in 2020, ADIF (Alliance of Digital India Foundation) is an industry body for India’s digital startups formed to fully capitalise on the sector’s promise with the objective of its long-term prosperity in mind. ADIF aims to transform the Indian startup ecosystem into the top 3 globally by 2030.

Among the issues ADIF is working on, we are fighting Google and Apple on their app store monopolies.

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