Apple to Temporarily Stop Collecting 30 Percent App Store Tax on Facebook Event Fees

Apple and Facebook have called a temporary truce in one of several fights between the two tech giants.

Last month, Facebook and Apple clashed over App Store fees. Now, Apple seems to be easing up slightly. Businesses that host paid online events through Facebook on iOS will be able to keep all of their earnings (minus taxes), Facebook announced today (via The Verge).

In an unusual move, Apple has agreed to not collect the App Store’s 30 percent “tax” on purchases made through Facebook’s app for live paid events — but only through the end of 2020.

“Apple has agreed to provide a brief, three-month respite after which struggling businesses will have to, yet again, pay Apple the full 30 percent App Store tax,” a Facebook spokesperson said. Facebook will not collect fees until August 2021.

The other big catch is that Facebook Gaming creators are left out of the deal. They’ll still have to hand over 30 percent of earnings that come through the iOS app.

“Apple’s decision to not collect its 30 percent tax on paid online events comes with a catch: gaming creators are excluded from using Facebook Pay in paid online events on iOS,” said Vivek Sharma, VP of Facebook Gaming. “We unfortunately had to make this concession to get the temporary reprieve for other businesses.”

The bigger picture is that Facebook is one of several tech companies that is complaining — or doing more than complaining — about Apple’s policies around the use of its giant iOS platform. It’s a long-simmering fight that has gotten much more public in the past few months as US lawmakers and regulators have mulled whether Apple should be reined in by antitrust restrictions.

This week saw the launch of the Coalition for App Fairness, formed by several companies that have had longstanding beefs with Apple including Spotify, Epic Games, Match Group, Deezer, and Tile.

It’s a particularly hot-button issue for Epic, creator of the popular Fortnite game, which is currently engaged in litigation with Apple over the mandated 30 percent fee and Apple’s refusal to allow Epic to offer its own payment mechanism. For now, Fortnite has been banned by Apple from the App Store because of Epic’s attempt to avoid paying the 30% revenue cut.