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US media take on Apple over App Store commission

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Aug 22, 2020 - 08:30 AM

SAN FRANCISCO — Major American media organizations have written to Apple pushing for the iPhone maker to charge less to feature on its App Store, a week after the company behind hit video game Fortnite sued the tech giant over the same issue.

Trade body Digital Content Next (DCN) — which represents top titles including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal — wrote to Apple boss Tim Cook asking why they are not given more favorable terms like some other companies.

They argue that instead of paying 30 percent of transactions in the App Store, they should be cut the same deal as Amazon Prime Video, which pays Apple just 15 percent in commission.

“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,” DCN’s letter dated Thursday said.

The letter refers to a heated House of Representatives antitrust hearing at the end of July in which Cook said the cut-price deal was available to companies that met certain conditions.

“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,” DCN boss Jason Kint wrote.

The collective of news outlets argue their “most trusted and well-respected media brands” reach a huge audience amounting to a “100 percent reach of the US online population.”

Last week the maker of Fortnite — Epic Games — sued Apple for the way it rules over the App Store, accusing the iPhone maker of wielding monopoly power.

Epic called on a federal judge to order Apple to stop its “anti-competitive conduct” and invalidate the tech giant’s rules requiring app developers to pay 30 percent of transactions as the price of doing business in the App Store.

The suit was filed the same day Apple booted Fortnite from the online marketplace, after Epic added a payment system that let player transactions bypass the App Store system, saving money in the process.

Apple has in recent months come under fire for the tight grip it has on the App Store, which is the sole source of applications for its popular mobile devices.

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