Xbox, Spotify and others speak out against new Apple App Store policy

Apple plans to charge a fee for third-party iOS apps, based on download popularity.
apple app store

Apple has been accused of “unacceptable” behaviour by some of the largest technology companies in the world, following its announcement of compliance for the new EU Digital Markets Act (DMA).

The European Commission revealed the DMA for the purpose of preventing monopolies on digital platforms, with new rulings forcing tech companies to allow third parties to operate and process payment within their own ecosystems.

In the case of Apple, the DMA dictates the company must allow third party apps with their own payment systems on iOS devices, outside of the App Store ecosystem.

But while Apple has announced its compliance, confirming it will allow alternative options for non-App Store apps, it has introduced a new fee for these applications. As detailed, Apple plans to charge any app distributed via the App Store or a third-party marketplace “€0.50 for each first annual install per year over a 1 million threshold.”

Read: Google has illegal app store monopoly, Epic Games lawsuit finds

Should any app hit 2 million downloads, they would essentially owe Apple an extra €500,000 (AUD $827,430). Any extra million downloads would come with the same fee.

On Twitter / X, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has criticised the decision, claiming Apple is attempting to circumvent the rules of the DMA and maintain a monopoly despite the European Commissions directive.

“Apple has just shown the world, they don’t think the rules apply to them,” Eck said. “Under the false pretence of compliance and concessions, they put forward a new plan that is a complete and total farce. Essentially, the old tax was rendered unacceptable under the DMA, so they created a new one masquerading as compliance with the law.”

“Spotify, like so many other developers, now faces an untenable situation. Under the new terms, if we stay in the App Store and want to offer our own in-app payment, we will pay a 17% commission and a 0.50 cent Euro Core Technology Fee per install and year. This equates for us to being the same or worse as under the old rules.”

Xbox president Sarah Bond has also shared her dissatisfaction with Apple’s decision, calling the new policy a step in the wrong direction.

“We believe constructive conversations drive change and progress towards open platforms and greater competition,” Bond said on Twitter / X. “Apple’s new policy is a step in the wrong direction. We hope they listen to feedback on their proposed plan and work towards a more inclusive future for all.”

Another voice joining the chorus of criticism is the European Games Developer Federation (EGDF), which has highlighted the unfairness perpetuated by Apple’s decision.

“The new install fee-based structure makes it difficult for any app developer to compete against Apple’s own services like the Apple App Store,” the EGDF said, in a statement shared on its website (via

“It creates a disincentive for game developers to start distributing their games through third-party marketplaces or process their in-game payments through third-party payment systems. Furthermore, the €1 million credit line threshold to become a marketplace creates an artificial market access barrier for new third-party marketplaces.”

The EGDF has outlined many challenges now facing game developers, and claimed the new install fee will lead to unfair competition for content on iOS devices – which the DMA was specifically created to prevent.

At this stage, Apple has yet to address criticisms of its newly-announced App Store policies, although we may see more on this matter shortly.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.