Top news publishers join fight against ‘Apple tax’

Top media trade body Digital Content Next that includes newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post has joined the fight against Apple for its unfair and allegedly anti-competitive App Store policies.

News publishers have joined the companies and app developers like Fortnite game owner Epic Games that has filed a lawsuit against Apple, alleging that the tech giant is threatening to terminate its developer account by August 28 which would cut the company off from iOS and macOS development tools.

The letter, first spotted by The Wall Street Journal, asks Apple CEO Tim Cook what would be necessary to negotiate a deal similar to the one it granted Amazon in 2016 for its Prime video app.

“We would like to know what conditions our members high quality digital content companies would need to meet in order to qualify for the arrangement Amazon is receiving for its Amazon Prime Video app in the Apple App Store,” read the letter by Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next that includes newspapers and several magazines, broadcasters and websites.

The deal “granted Amazon a more generous 85-15 percent revenue share with Apple for in-app subscriptions of Prime Video,” reports The Verge.

Apple generally charges a 30 per cent cut of all in-app purchases. The “Apple tax,” as it’s called, is also the focus of an European Union antitrust investigation.

“Nearly all of DCN’s members offer apps in the Apple App Store and, as noted above, many offer subscription-based access to a wide variety of content. The terms of Apple’s unique marketplace greatly impact the ability to continue to invest in high-quality, trusted news and entertainment particularly in competition with other larger firms,” the letter further read.

According to Epic Games, Apple has sent the notice about the account termination after the antitrust feud between the two companies exploded.

“Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store and has informed Epic that on Friday, August 28 Apple will terminate all our developer accounts and cut Epic off from iOS and Mac development tools. We are asking the court to stop this retaliation,” the company tweeted earlier this week.

According to Apple, Epic Games has grown into a multi-billion dollar business that reached millions of iOS customers around the world.

“Upon further review of the activity associated with your Apple Developer Program membership, we have identified several violations of the Apple Developer Program License Agreement. Therefore, your Apple Developer Program account will be terminated if the violations set forth below are not cured within 14 days,” Apple said in a letter to Epic, which is also included in the court filing.