Apple gives small developers a breather around new app store fee in EU

Apple on Thursday allowed small developers more ways around its alternative app store tax in the European Union (EU).

The company said that developers of free apps without monetisation won’t have to pay the new Core Technology Fee (CTF) it introduced in the EU.

“Only developers who reach significant scale (more than one million first annual installs per year in the EU) pay the CTF,” Apple said in an update.

Nonprofit organisations, government entitles and educational institutions approved for a fee waiver don’t need to pay the new fee.

Apple will start charging them after “one million first annual installs up to a cap of 1 million euros per year.”

The iPhone maker introduced the CTF in the EU in January to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

“No CTF is required if a developer has no revenue whatsoever. This includes creating a free app without monetisation that is not related to revenue of any kind (physical, digital, advertising, or otherwise),” said Apple.

Small developers (less than 10 million euros in global annual business revenue) that adopt the alternative business terms will receive a 3-year free on-ramp to the CTF to help them create innovative apps and rapidly grow their business.

“If a small developer grows to earn global revenue between 10 million euros and 50 million euros within the 3-year on-ramp period, they’ll start to pay the CTF after one million first annual installs up to a cap of 1 million euros per year,’ Apple explained.

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney posted on X that Apple is tweaking its anticompetitive “core technology” junk fee — “while still demanding a cut of transactions they have nothing to do with, from apps distributed through channels they have nothing to do with, in violation of EU law”.

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