Apple Challenges Russian Requirement to Allow Devs to Promote Third-Party Payments

Published · Dec 09, 2021

Apple is objecting to a ruling by the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service. The ruling orders Apple to allow developers to advertise alternative payments for their products on the App Store. The company is facing a similar situation in the US.

Apple generates a lot of revenue through the App store, taking a cut of between 15% and 30%. This includes subscription payments, such as Netflix and Spotify. Moreover, Apple doesn’t allow “sideloading” of apps on iPhone and iPad, meaning developers have to use the App store.

Essentially, iOS developers are bound to pay Apple a commission if they want users to have access to their products and services.

Although Apple had a deadline of September to allow third-party payment options, it ignored it. As a result, the Antimonopoly Service has launched legal proceedings. In response, Apple is challenging the request.

It seems unlikely that Apple will succeed, however. In the US, the company was ordered to allow third-party payments. After unsuccessfully fighting the request, it asked for an “indefinite stay,” which was also denied.

Apple’s Reasoning

Apple claims that forcing developers to use its platform for payments is a safety feature. It says that allowing developers to direct users to third parties would open the way for phishing attacks that could hijack payments or install malware.

While this is possible, Apple could put safeguards in place to ensure secure transactions. Some suspect the company is mostly concerned with protecting its bottom line. Of the roughly $300 billion in revenue Apple makes a year, a sizable portion comes from App store commissions.

Apple intends to collect a commission from third-party payments in the US. If it fails its fight in Russia, it might angle for a similar agreement there.

Garan van Rensburg
Garan van Rensburg

Garan is a writer interested in how tech reshapes the environment, and how the environment reshapes tech. You'll usually find him inoculating against future shock and arguing with bots.