Apple on Monday announced the extension of App Store fee waiver for online events till June 2021 as compared the original deadline of December 2020.
Companies that offer digital classes or virtual events through iPhone apps won’t have to use Apple’s App Store in-app purchases through June 2021, enabling them to charge their customers directly without Apple’s 30 percent commission fee.
The extension will help businesses by giving them more time to hold paid digital events rather than in-person events during the Covid-19 pandemic, without the additional fee.
“Though apps are required to offer any paid online group event experiences (one-to-few and one-to-many realtime experiences) through in-app purchase in accordance with App Store Review guideline 3.1.1, we temporarily deferred this requirement with an original deadline of December 2020,” Apple wrote on its developer blog. “To allow additional time for developing in-app purchase solutions, this deadline has been extended to June 30, 2021.”
Critics say the iPhone giant’s control over the App Store platform and fees are anticompetitive. Apple announced earlier this month that it planned to cut its commission to 15 percent for app developers making under $1 million on Apple’s platforms in 2021.
Apple originally waived the in-app purchase requirement for group classes and events in September, after Facebook introduced a paid events feature and tried to include copy inside its apps warning that a cut of transactions for paid events would go to Apple. But at the time, Apple only suspended its fees through December. Monday’s announcement extended it for six more months, CNBC reported.
Apple requires iPhone apps to use Apple’s App Store payment processing, which takes 30 percent of total payments and has been an antitrust focus of policymakers around the world. However, in-person goods, such as ordering a ride through Uber or buying something from an online retailer, are not required to use App Store payments.
In September, Apple clarified that one-to-one person classes through an iPhone app could be billed directly, but any virtual classes where an instructor or group works with multiple people were required to use App Store payments.
New York Times reported in July that some app makers, such as Airbnb and ClassPass, were switching business models to include more digital classes as in-person experiences were negatively affected by the pandemic, and Apple had asked them to use in-app purchases which entitled them to 30 percent of the sale.