Apple Exec Suggested Lowering App Store Commission Fees to 20 Percent Back in 2011

Apple executives have considered dropping Apple’s controversial 30 percent App Store commission rate for years, read new documents.

Apple exec Phil Schiller, who essentially ran the App Store for a number of years, considered cutting down Apple’s commission rate to 25 or 20 percent as early as 2011, according to emails made public by the trial, The Verge reports. The emails in question were directed at then-CEO Steve Jobs and Eddy Cue, head of Apple services.

“Do we think our 70/30 split will last forever?” Schiller wrote. “I think someday we will see enough challenge from another platform or web based solutions to want to adjust our model.”

As the trial is going forwards, it’s obvious that Apple never went through with Schiller’s idea, who himself knew would likely be the case.

“I know this is controversial, I just tee it up as another way to look at the size of the business, what we want to achieve, and how we stay competitive,” Schiller writes. “Just food for thought.”

Schiller also attached to the email a Wall Street Journal article from that time suggesting that developers might use web apps to circumvent App Store commission fees. That bypass method has already been brought up in court by both Apple and Epic, and it’s sure to be a major touchpoint throughout the trial.

Sensor Tower analysts estimate Apple pulled in $22 billion USD in commissions in 2020 — and an expert witness for Epic estimates that Apple’s profit margin is about 80 percent for the App Store, explains the report.

Schiller originally pitched toning down the commission once the App Store had brought in $1 billion USD for Apple; the Cupertino company is so far past that point now, and it shows no sign of loosening its grip.

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