Apple has recently made a number of changes to its App Store rules, allowing a larger number of companies to access a lower commission rate or avoid Apple’s mandatory 15% to 30% cut entirely.
But while the concessions can seem like a shift in Apple’s approach to App store policy, when examined in the history of the App Store, they are a clear continuation of strategy going back to 2008.
Apple has historically made small changes to its “guidelines,” a 13,000-word document that says what iPhone apps can and can’t do, while defending its core interests that Apple has the right to determine which software can operate on iPhones, and set its own financial terms.
Apple has also not yet changed its policy of taking 30% of in-app gaming purchases, which comprise the largest source of App Store revenue. Apple’s App Store grossed $64 billion or more in total sales in 2020, according to analysis based on Apple disclosures.
JPMorgan analyst Samik Chatterjee said in a recent note that he believed the financial impact on the company on one emailing change would be “modest” and other tweaks reducing Apple’s cut for some apps to 15% would be “minimal.”