Apple can charge developers 30% if it wants to

Pavel Durov, via Twitter:

Apple and Google impose an insane 30% sales tax on all digital goods sold on every mobile phone in the world. The result—users pay higher prices, start-ups and entire industries get destroyed or never appear. Regulators have been ignoring this absurdity for 10 years.

The solution to end Apple abuse of monopoly power is simple: allow users to install apps directly or via alternative app stores, not just through the Apple-run App Store that imposes the 30% cut, censorship and lack of privacy. Just replicate how apps get installed on desktops.

I am surprised that Pavel wrote this as a self-described libertarian. Libertarians, after all, are “believers in a political doctrine that emphasises individual liberty and a lack of governmental regulation, intervention, and oversight in matters of the economy (‘free market’)”.

Apple makes both software and hardware to make the experience of using its products as magical as possible. Of course, they take advantage of this power and try to lock people into their ecosystem. I have experienced this many times myself, and I don’t appreciate it.

It is tempting to regulate these actions, but that would be socialism: giving couch potatoes the earnings of the hard-working. Nobody forces anybody to use Apple products, so there is no need to regulate Apple’s actions.

People who don’t like being locked in can make and use alternative products. For instance, I recently moved my emails, calendars, reminders, and notes from iCloud to Posteo, which I greatly recommend.