Until now, those restrictions have allowed Apple to take a cut of up to 30 percent from payments made inside apps downloaded via the App Store, and Google to do the same through its Play Store. The tech giants, whose operating systems run on 99 percent of the world’s smartphones, have argued this is fair recompense for providing the platforms that allow apps to be downloaded in the first place. And to some extent, Barnard agrees. “Apple enabled me to build a business, which I’m incredibly grateful for,” he said from his home in Texas. “But it comes with some pretty big trade-offs.”
He sold his automobile in 2008 to establish an app development firm for the iPhone, which was still in its infancy. Since then, he’s made a career out of creating what he refers to as “boring” applications, such as weather apps and apps that help drivers track their gas consumption. His conflicted views, on the other hand, reflect a growing dispute in courts and legislatures throughout the world about whether Apple and Google are abusing their monopolies in the app industry. South Korean lawmakers enacted a measure on Tuesday prohibiting the two internet giants from forcing app creators to use their payment systems, a world first.
Barnard said he had witnessed frustrating cases of companies building clever apps, only for Apple to release similar features that work better with the phone’s technology “in ways that developers can’t compete with”. And with tens of billions of dollars floating through Apple and Google’s payment systems as apps become increasingly integrated into people’s shopping and entertainment habits, the commission charges have come in for particularly fierce opposition. The fees are at the heart of a bitter lawsuit between Apple and Epic Games, maker of the phenomenally successful video game Fortnite.