Apple's Phil Schiller talks App Store commission, Amazon streaming deal, more in trial

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 18
Apple Fellow and former marketing chief Phil Schiller took the stand in the Epic Games v. Apple trial Monday, revealing a variety of details about the App Store and developer policies.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


For example, Schiller said that Apple does actually reduce its 30% commission on in-app purchases to 15% for certain apps in exchange for those platforms supporting the Apple TV app.

"The Apple TV team had a meeting with premium content providers and described the work they were going to do to integrate this new experience. For example, they had to integrate with our Siri voice assistant so we can find any show across any one of those app experience," Schiller said.

The result is that members of the Apple Video Partner Program pay the Cupertino tech giant a 15% cut of in-app purchases in the first year of subscription.

At another point during his testimony, Schiller admitted that Epic Games' antitrust lawsuit helped him get approval for the small business program that slashes commission rates to 15% for companies making less than 1 million per year from the App Store. He said the Epic Games complaint wasn't the reason Apple introduced the program, "but it certainly helped." The program was reportedly in the works since 2016.

Similarly, Schiller said a 15% commission was as low as Apple would go for a reduced fee because of fraud and money laundering concerns. He added that Apple's anti-fraud team was "very worried" about a commission level of anything lower than 15%.

The Apple Fellow also confirmed the existence of a group within Apple dubbed FEAR, or fraud, engineering, algorithms, and risk. According to Schiller, the team conducts anti-fraud, anti-piracy, anti-spam, and risk management operations of new of features. He added that the team is "quite different" than Apple's standard App Review department.

On the subject of anti-steering rules, or the guidelines that prohibit App Store developers from advertising outside services, Schiller said that Apple doesn't give customer emails to developers automatically. However, developers can request customer emails from Apple. Once they have the contact information, developers can communicate generally with their customers about buying in-app items from outside the App Store. This cannot be targeted though, so single customers won't receive personalized email ads.

Schiller also discussed gaming services like Microsoft's xCloud. According to the executive, cloud gaming service make it impossible to regulate and maintain the App Store experience. Specifically, Apple wants to assign an age rating, parental controls, app designation, privacy policies and other attributes on a per-app basis, something that can't be done with xCloud and other products.

Asked how gaming services compare to movie apps, Schiller said companies like Netflix require users to sign into an account and agree to a single privacy policy. Customers don't sign into a single show or series in the same way that they do a game, for example.

Earlier on Monday, Schiller revealed that Apple was building a new developer center at its Cupertino campus and revealed that the company spends about $50 million a year putting on its Worldwide Developers Conference.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,406member
    Schiller said that Apple doesn't give customer emails to developers automatically. However, developers can request customer emails from Apple. Once they have the contact information, developers can communicate generally with their customers about buying in-app items from outside the App Store. 
    This disturbs me. I'm upset with Apple. I thought they didn't give my email address to developers of software on the App Store.
  • Reply 2 of 7
    Schiller said that Apple doesn't give customer emails to developers automatically. However, developers can request customer emails from Apple. Once they have the contact information, developers can communicate generally with their customers about buying in-app items from outside the App Store. 
    This disturbs me. I'm upset with Apple. I thought they didn't give my email address to developers of software on the App Store.
    I received emails from developers previous to this article where I had purchased the App through the App Store so I figured for sometime that my email was being shared. It's one of the reasons I have two Apple IDs so I can keep purchases seperate from Contacts etc. 

    The area I'd love to know a bit more on is the Sign In with Apple and that in conjunction with App Store purchases. If I buy the App through the App Store and then use the Anonymous Sign In with Apple option, do they still get my email address or only just the Relay Email ID.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 7
    davidwdavidw Posts: 1,286member
    Schiller said that Apple doesn't give customer emails to developers automatically. However, developers can request customer emails from Apple. Once they have the contact information, developers can communicate generally with their customers about buying in-app items from outside the App Store. 
    This disturbs me. I'm upset with Apple. I thought they didn't give my email address to developers of software on the App Store.
    I received emails from developers previous to this article where I had purchased the App through the App Store so I figured for sometime that my email was being shared. It's one of the reasons I have two Apple IDs so I can keep purchases seperate from Contacts etc. 

    The area I'd love to know a bit more on is the Sign In with Apple and that in conjunction with App Store purchases. If I buy the App through the App Store and then use the Anonymous Sign In with Apple option, do they still get my email address or only just the Relay Email ID.
    What gets me is that Epic do not need Apple to get the email address of Fortnight players on iOS. In order to play Fortnight on any platform, you need an Epic account, which requires an email address. Epic could easily send out notices to all their account holders about their rate and payment structure on all the various platforms, without needing to do it in their free Fortnight app, on any of the platforms they're on. Which would not be consider targeting of players for any single platform.  

    I have never paid for my Netflix account through Apple (had my Netflix account when they were only an online DVD rental store) and yet, I get email from Netflix all the time. I had to give Netflix an email address to open an account with them. I would think that would be true for all subscription services apps.

    But at the least, I hope Apple is not giving away email addresses to developers that only have free apps in the App Store.   
    edited May 17 bshankthtforegoneconclusionbadmonkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,406member
    davidw said:
    Schiller said that Apple doesn't give customer emails to developers automatically. However, developers can request customer emails from Apple. Once they have the contact information, developers can communicate generally with their customers about buying in-app items from outside the App Store. 
    This disturbs me. I'm upset with Apple. I thought they didn't give my email address to developers of software on the App Store.
    I received emails from developers previous to this article where I had purchased the App through the App Store so I figured for sometime that my email was being shared. It's one of the reasons I have two Apple IDs so I can keep purchases seperate from Contacts etc. 

    The area I'd love to know a bit more on is the Sign In with Apple and that in conjunction with App Store purchases. If I buy the App through the App Store and then use the Anonymous Sign In with Apple option, do they still get my email address or only just the Relay Email ID.
    What gets me is that Epic do not need Apple to get the email address of Fortnight players on iOS. In order to play Fortnight on any platform, you need an Epic account, which requires an email address. 
    Since Epic is "nearly half owned" by Tencent (and hence by the Chinese Communist Party or CCP), I wonder if Epic delivers Fortnite Players' email addresses to the CCP, and if the CCP is building files on all Fortnite players around the world, correlating those files with other data they buy from FaceBook, Google, etc.
    edited May 17 watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 7
    Looking at Apple’s exceptions to 30% commisions, like Netflix, the Apps that support Apple TV etc.—it’s media content that have exceptions, not executable files that games contain. Executables must be checked for safety and following the rules. I hope this is clear to the judge and to any appeal judges if this case goes to appellate court.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 7
    Curious what the rationale is behind not wanting to go below 30% for fraud reasons. What effect would the difference betwen 15% or 30% have on fraud? Is it that a lower commission encourages fraudsters because the profit potential is higher? Does not compute but happy to be educated.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 7
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,406member
    Curious what the rationale is behind not wanting to go below 30% for fraud reasons. What effect would the difference betwen 15% or 30% have on fraud? Is it that a lower commission encourages fraudsters because the profit potential is higher? Does not compute but happy to be educated.
    I think you are inferring the wrong cause and effect. Changing the rate doesn't raise or lower fraud, but fraud exists and lowering the rate would cut into Apple's profit.
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