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Apple’s latest salvo to fend off anticompetition accusations is a reduction in its App Store Commission. Its 30% cut will now be reduced to 15% for any developer or small business with annual revenues of less than $1m.

The new scheme will launch on 1 January, with Apple pitching it as meaning “small developers and aspiring entrepreneurs will have more resources to invest in and grow their businesses in the App Store ecosystem”. And, perhaps, that regulators will have less interest in the arguments of companies like Spotify and Epic Games about the ‘App Store tax’. Unsurprisingly, neither will qualify for the new scheme, although if Spotify did use Apple’s in-app purchases (which it doesn’t any more) it could get a 15% rate for each subscriber paying for more than a year.

Equally unsurprisingly, both Epic Games and Spotify have shared unimpressed views on Apple’s move. “A calculated move by Apple to divide app creators and preserve their monopoly on stores and payments, again breaking the promise of treating all developers equally,” said Epic boss Tim Sweeney. “This latest move further demonstrates that their App Store policies are arbitrary and capricious,” added Spotify. Both companies will continue their crusade against Apple, but it’s also true that the new scheme could be a good thing for smaller music startups exploring user-paid business models.

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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