At this point, it is nothing new for anyone App Store is in the sights of regulators around the world: several developers have already accused Apple of predatory and anti-competitive behavior in their app store, and Tim Cook himself will testify in a US Senate inquiry to analyze possible misconduct by Apple.
Apple, however, is not inert waiting for (possible) sanctions to arrive: the company funded a study [PDF] of Analysis Group, released today, which brings numbers from the application industry to argue that the company’s practices are not predatory – in fact, they would be well within the industry average.
The study begins by stating that it was funded and supported by Apple, but that the information presented is factual and the opinions of experts are independent. The researchers compared the rates of the App Store with those of 38 other digital stores of various natures, such as the Google Play, a Amazon App Store, a Galaxy Store and the game stores of Nintendo, gives Sony and the Microsoft.
They all revolve around 30% in commission, just like the App Store.
The researchers went further and also took into account other digital environments of various categories, such as retail, travel, sharing rides, delivering food, selling tickets and services freelance.
In this case, rates vary significantly: the craft site Etsy, for example, charges between 5% and 8% of its sellers, while the ticket sales service StubHub is around 37%. THE Audible, Amazon’s audiobook service, has a staggering 75% rate for content that isn’t exclusive to the platform.
The data survey also highlights that Apple’s practice – of requiring apps distributed on the App Store to use its payment system (and their fees) for internal purchases and subscriptions – is standard in the industry: Amazon, Walmart, eBay and Airbnb, for example, have rules to prevent products and services offered on their platforms from being made available elsewhere.
Ultimately, the study concluded the following:
Our research shows that App Store commission rates are similar in magnitude to rates charged by many other app stores and marketplaces digital. […] Many sellers currently distribute (or previously distributed) their products through physical stores. We find that, in general, salespeople receive a much smaller share of their products’ total revenue by distributing them through physical stores than through marketplaces digital.
It remains to be seen, now, whether the US Senate (and the developers) will be convinced of the argument. One thing is for sure: Apple is feeling the siege closing in on them – and trying to strike back in any way it can.