Tuesday, March 16, 2021 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Google Play Store Drops Commission to 15%

Joe Rossignol (Hacker News):

Google today announced that, starting July 1, it will be lowering its Play Store commission from 30% to 15% for the first $1 million of revenue developers earn using the Play Store billing system each year, as reported by TechCrunch.

Google estimated that 99% of developers that sell goods and services with the Play Store billing system will see a 50% reduction in fees.

Michael Love:

Also kudos to Google for simply applying it to the first $1M rather than making a whole complicated program you have to apply for / get booted from if you go just over $1M / etc; hopefully Apple will grudgingly decide to do the same.

Anyway the fact that as of July 1st none of my revenues will be taxed at more than 15% is going to open up some very interesting possibilities in terms of licensing.

Paul Haddad:

I’m happy to see more App Stores going down the 15% route but the “progressive taxation” nature of it just seems weird to me. It’s not like the Store’s cost/unit go up as more units get sold. Just go 15% across the board.

Neither do the store’s costs go to zero when distributing free apps that monetize through advertising. The weird structure is a great fit for Apple and Google’s goals. It quiets most of the complainers and increases the supply of apps without greatly reducing the stores’ revenue, which mostly comes from a small percentage of top apps.

Previously:

Update (2021-03-19): Mike Peterson (also: MacRumors):

If the App Store program was in place throughout 2020, for example, Apple would have been short $595 million in revenue. That’s about 2.7% of its estimated $21.7 billion it makes form App Store commissions. Google similarly would have made $587 million less in revenue, or just about 5% of the estimated $11.6 billion in Google Play fees it collected in 2020.

John Gruber:

70/30 percent just feels harder and harder for Apple and Google to defend. Make it 85/15 across the board and it all becomes simpler.

In the meantime, thanks to Epic and others for improving the deal for us small developers. I don’t think Apple and Google would have done this without them.

5 Comments

I’m happy to see more App Stores going down the 15% route but the “progressive taxation” nature of it just seems weird to me. It’s not like the Store’s cost/unit go up as more units get sold. Just go 15% across the board.

Bless you.

And now for today’s lesson in Business 101:

Question: How much is a product worth?

Answer: As much as the market is willing to pay for it.

I’ve yet to build a successful company and even I know that.

..

The weird structure is a great fit for Apple and Google’s goals. It quiets most of the complainers and increases the supply of apps without greatly reducing the stores’ revenue, which mostly comes from a small percentage of top apps.

Nailed it! Hand that man a raise!

“Look at our magnanimity!” cry Apple and Google, to their hovering wannabe regulators. “So much largesse!” Thus appearing to do something without actually doing anything at all.

Will the politicos be satisfied with their pound of virtual flesh, and go bother some other poor quasiopoly for a while? “Watch this space…”

And no doubt the peanut gallery will be along to take full credit for their grumbly Tweets. (BTW, no prizes for spotting whose apps won’t be breaking the magic $1M barrier any time soon. Or ever.)

Not that there’s anything wrong with modest revenues, mind. If you’re selling a niche product to a niche audience, suffering no illusions that it will ever be a mass-market seller, then as long as it’s paying all your wages and other running expenses with some nice profit on top then you’re sorted in terms of making a living, at least for a while. And even a miniscule profit is a lot nicer than running in the red.

Still, it’s depressing how many ostensible professionals are pig-ignorant of basic business principle and practice. Maybe vocational programming courses need to throw in some business studies as well? I’m sure AppStores could handle a lot less Willy Lomans and a few more Steve Jobs.

>And no doubt the peanut gallery will be along to take full
>credit for their grumbly Tweets

A large part of the reason why it is advantageous for Google to make this decision is precisely because people are unhappy, and very vocal about their unhappiness. No politician will take a look at the 30% cut, or at monopolistic behavior in general, if nobody is bothered by it.

This is what you fail to understand: the world is much more complex, and incentives are much more complex, than you are able to see. The reductive narrative you repeat again and again is false, and no amount of repetition will make it correct.

>Still, it’s depressing how many ostensible professionals
>are pig-ignorant of basic business principle and practice

Indeed, you have illustrated this point perfectly, so I will admit that you are correct in this claim.

Seriously, dude, whining on Twitter must be the least effective bottom-up driver of political change. Campaign donations work best, obviously, then volunteering for campaign work, then persistently engaging with representatives in person and/or via writing and calls. Email’s probably hovering around the line (I suspect paper and stamp still carries more force, particularly with older generations), and being a whiny douche on Twitter is down in the gutter with the trolls and the Nazis and the rest of Jack’s garbage.

In other words: it’s not your whining that drives change, it’s the political engagement. And there much much more effective, focused routes to achieving that engagement than random Twitters.

As for press, sure there is a lot of yellow churnalism happy to turn random slap fights into today’s five-minute wonder. But 99% of that I would expect to wash over behemoths like Google and Apple, who know that ignoring that idiot background noise is just a standard part of doing business when they have far bigger fish to fry.

You seem really desperate to believe you hold Power. As a bit-player you really don’t. At all. Up to a million in revenue you’re nothing. If you hit 5-10M you’ll either be bought out or beaten by a larger company who won’t hesitate to take it from you just because it wants it more. You need to be topping a billion with dramatic growth and a must-have market to have any direct sway over Apple or Google. Even then, you’re more likely to be an Epic—mired in legal squabbling for however long it takes to break you—than a Roblox, for whom the red carpet is rolled out only because it has something A/G now wants.

That just leaves sheer raw numbers. If you can recruit a sufficiently large number of other bit-players to your personal army, you probably can find some traction for your cause. Even then, your traction is likely to be indirect, via politicians and press, who provide the amplification your agenda requires for FAANG to hear it. And there are more efficient ways to organize resistance than howling into the Twitter gale, individually gratifying as you might find that. Instead of looking for confirmation bias, why don’t you look for those?

Sure, making your case heard on SM is an essential tool for any modern organized movement, but one tool amongst many and working for that cause, not just grandstanding for personal ego.

Because the keyword here is organization. And I know from some experience that this is something many developers are absolutely dreadful at, because they mistake busyness for productivity, and OCD for effectiveness.

Look at union movements, look at political lobbying, look at BLM. There are plenty others who’ve been doing mass activism a lot longer, who will provide lessons on what does and doesn’t work best for amplifying small unheard voices en-masse, and how to integrate modern technology tools with traditional shoe-leather-on-tarmac.

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And hey, it’s perfectly possible I am completely wrong about all this and y’all are already super-effective acting exactly as you are. There is a lack of hard data to assess efficacy, and everyone at the bottom has twice as many opinions as assholes on the subject. But you’re the ones wanting to effect significant change, not me, so it’s contingent on you to do that homework for yourselves.

All I point out here is that you lot show no signs of having done any of this, nor even any awareness as to why you should. (“Programmers” and “herding cats” always comes to mind. Always.) And I’m a piker who knows he’s a piker, so if you’re failing to impress me then how impressed do you think Google et al are by your antics?

Honestly, the only real talent I see is in how quickly you move to congratulate yourselves; meanwhile FAANG continues to eat the whole world unchecked from beneath us all.

So I think you are suckers. Now prove me wrong.

I’m happy to see more App Stores going down the 15% route but the “progressive taxation” nature of it just seems weird to me.

My issue with the “taxation” continues to be that many of the biggest users of the store pay… zero. Facebook and TikTok don’t cost money (that goes through Apple, anyway), so they pay neither 15% nor 30%.

In that sense, Apple’s model almost encourages companies to use different payment models such as ads.

>it’s perfectly possible I am completely wrong about all this

Right. Now maybe stop posting the exact same shallow edgelord comment on every story, and try to come up with something interesting to say instead.

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