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Russia can thank 20 percent for App Store fees

The Russian parliament will soon vote on a bill that will limit commission companies such as Apple and Google for the sale of apps in digital stores to twenty percent. Last month, Russia’s antitrust body alleged that Apple abused its dominant position via the App Store.

As a quick background, Apple’s standard fee for selling apps and subscriptions in the App Store is thirty percent. In the case of a subscription, however, the company lowers the fee from thirty to fifteen percent after the subscriber’s first full year of service.

Reuters has the story (my emphasis):

The bill, which was presented to Russia’s lower house by parliamentarian Fedot Tumusov, stipulates that commissions for the sale of applications may be limited to twenty percent. Apple is currently collecting a thirty-year-old commission for sales in the App Store. The bill, if passed, would too oblige app vendors to pay one-third of the commission to a special training fund for IT specialists on a quarterly basis.

Tumosov said on social media that the bill will also force Apple to allow third-party app stores on the iPhone and iPad, and that is exactly what developer Epic Games has tried to achieve with the recent anti-Apple crusade and legal action.

Now I can swallow the fact that governments can try to impose fees on stores that are charged, whether they are physical or digital. But what happens to potentially requiring developers to pay a third of their commission (which will be eighty percent if the bill goes through the vote)?

And to a “special education fund” aimed at IT specialists? Why would anyone selling apps in the Russian App Store pay to teach people how to use computers? And quarterly?

The Reuters article gives no further explanation for that.

In December last year, the Russian government rushed a new protectionist law to restrict the operation of foreign video services to protect local competitors.

Under the new legislation, any foreign video service that has accumulated 20 percent of the market share for video streaming services in Russia may face restrictions or even be driven out of the market altogether. As a result of this law, Apple TV + may be driven out of the Russian market, provided it becomes too large over time.

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