1/ One thing a lot of people forget in the App Store take rate discussion is that Stripe only operates in 42 countries, doesn’t automatically collect/pay sales tax, doesn’t handle local compliance, etc. There are Stripe apps you can pay to handle some of that, but not all.
2/ The App Store operates in 166 countries, collects and pays all taxes, handles local compliance, etc. Calculating the overlap would be a PITA, but after a quick look at my revenue this year, I’d guess I earn at least 5% more because of all the additional App Store countries.
3/ China alone (where Stripe doesn’t operate) is 1.5% of my revenue and has been higher in the past. So, the 15% I’ll be paying Apple in 2021 really feels more like 10% because they help me make an additional 5% with support for all those additional countries.
4/ It’s disingenuous to say that Apple is _just_ a payment processor and should charge the same as Stripe. At a bare minimum, you’d need Stripe + a tax SaaS + additional help with taxes/compliance. And even then you’d get 42 countries instead of 166.
5/ As anyone who has been following me for years knows, I’m not shy about bashing Apple when I think they’re wrong. But I just don’t think the 30% is that bad of a deal for everything Apple does not just with payments, but creating the App Store and the rest of the platform.
6/ Apple creating the App Store Small Business Program wasn’t resetting to a more fair rate and only doing it for small developers, it was a subsidy/stimulus plan for small developers (for PR, antitrust breathing room, spurring innovation, encouraging entrepreneurship, etc)
7/ I’ve argued for years that conversion/dunning/etc. when Apple already has a customer’s credit card & allows them to pay with their face/fingerprint more than makes up for the 30% (developers who have tested it have confirmed that IAPs really do convert way better than Stripe)
8/ There are so many other things that are more meaningful to innovation and the future of mobile apps than paying Apple a cut (15% or 30%). I’m working with @jeiting on a post to suggest some of those next steps Apple could take to regulate itself before governments do.
(One quick caveat, there are businesses that don’t sell (near) zero marginal cost goods and services that just can’t operate on the App Store even at 15% and this does nothing to address those cases. That’s one of the things we’ll be writing about.)
9/ Oh geez, this was the worst kind of hot take. I completely misunderstood Stripe’s availability. You can operate your business from 42 countries, but payments can be accepted worldwide (though surely there are exceptions, can’t find a full list). 🥚➡️👱🏼‍♂️
10/ Well, maybe it wasn’t so bad of a take. Stripe does support China, but there are a lot of hoops to jump through and Stripe passes the buck on complying with the Alipay TOS. I imagine there are other caveats like this that have to be addressed country by country.
11/ There’s SaaS to handle software sales globally. Anyone know what PayPro Global actually costs? Their web page gives a great outline of all the stuff Apple does on behalf of developers. If you reduce the App Store take rate to just payments, at least compare to this not Stripe

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More from @drbarnard

21 Nov
1/ This is one area where Apple holds itself to same or higher standards than they hold 3rd party developers to. At least according to their written policies. A thread:
2/ Developers can use the IDFV to individually identify all users across their portfolio of apps & collect as much data as they want. Apple doesn’t prevent Facebook from doing that. Apple is preventing them from tracking users across any app (with their SDK installed) and the web
3/ Facebook’s accusations ring hollow unless they can point to specific ways in which Apple is leveraging it’s data to unfairly compete with Facebook and 3rd party developers. The privacy as a cover for profit also rings hollow for so many reasons.
Read 8 tweets
19 Nov
Exactly. Most apps don’t flirt with $1M, they blow right past it. And many of those will be subscription apps with some growing percentage of revenue on the 85/15 subscription split. Which means it’s not that one day you’re paying 15% on all revenue, the next you’re paying 30%.
2/ There’s been a lot of focus on the $1M threshold (including by me), but I’m warming up to it not being an issue. It’s like the tax arguments about how raising taxes on people making over $400k will disincentive people from making over $400k. That’s just not at all how it works
3/ Here’s a more nuanced discussion on why it’s probably not a big deal. As @jeiting mentions there’s also a lot of precedence for businesses facing new taxes and regulations as they scale. subclub.co/episode/app-st…
Read 5 tweets
28 Aug
1/ With rumors flying that Apple is delaying the iOS 14 privacy changes, I thought I’d share some nuance on why that would be a good thing.
2/ Apps being able to do cost-effective marketing ultimately benefits everyone involved: consumers, Apple, developers, ad networks, and even the thousands of growth/ad tech/infrastructure companies (including @RevenueCat) that help facilitate that marketing.
3/ Most apps need to make money to be worth building and updating. And being able to measure marketing spend is an important part of the complex App Store economy that powers so many of the great apps we depend on every day.
Read 9 tweets
27 Aug
1/ The recent brouhaha about Apple’s ad personalization being on by default missed an important point: Facebook’s ad personalization is also on by default, the IDFA isn’t needed in its own apps. @benthompson did a great job addressing the nuance in today’s @StratecheryMO email Image
2/ Facebook can collect as much data as they want (or can legally) in the Facebook app, Instagram, Whatsapp, etc. and then use that for ad personalization. iOS 14 only limits their collection of data in 3rd party apps (including advertised apps and apps that display ads).
3/ If you actually read Apple’s privacy policy around data collection and campaign measurement, they hold themselves to a much higher standard than Facebook, Google, and other ad networks. Image
Read 7 tweets
7 Aug
1/ The xCloud on iOS situation is a perfect encapsulation of the antitrust argument for and against Apple. Microsoft is going to be just fine building their business on Xbox, Windows, and Android. iPhone customers who care about Xbox can switch to Android.
2/ This, in some ways, reduces Apple’s power over their customers. A compelling feature exclusive to another platform might actually cause some number of people switch from iPhone to Android. Having compelling platform exclusives _can_ be healthy for competition.
3/ Any argument that Apple is wielding monopoly-like power over its platfom hinges on switching costs. Do people stay on iPhone because its too much of a hassle to switch or because the iPhone experience is compelling enough to keep them even without xCloud & other rejected apps.
Read 16 tweets
13 Jun
Fun times… Image
(None of us have symptoms yet, but someone who was in our house for an extended amount of time several times in the past couple weeks tested positive yesterday.)
Well that escalated quickly... we’re all showing mild symptoms. Our youngest (who had the most contact with the infected person) has had a fever off and on since last night.
Read 25 tweets

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