Today, it was wildly reported that Apple and Microsoft were in heated discussions about the 30% cut that the former takes from all App Store sales. According to those reports, Microsoft submitted an updated SkyDrive app to Apple and requested a larger cut of the entire sale of in-app purchases. And while that is completely true – and is why this whole ordeal broke out in the first place – it is the least important thing going on between Cupertino and Redmond right now.
Later in the day, AllThingsD reported that not only were the two companies disagreeing on 30% from SkyDrive in-app purchases, but also on Microsoft’s long-awaited Office for iOS app, which apparently will also contain a number of in-app purchases, too – for which Microsoft is asking Apple for a bigger share of the profits.
Apple, of course, rejected.
Apple, strangely, is the only company involved in this to have commented on the issue at the time of this writing.
Apple provides customers and developers the largest selection and safest way to discover apps with our curated App Store. We’ve designed our rules to be fair and consistent for every developer…
In other words, Apple isn’t budging since it - of all companies - wants to be completely fair to developers of all sizes.
On the one hand, Apple has a point: once special exceptions are made for any developer, the rest are sure to follow suit and ask for their own specific payment guidelines based on merit and size. Apple, however large it may be, wouldn’t be able to keep up with the constant requests for the special treatment that its once arch-rival Microsoft was able to receive. Plus, there are millions of iOS users; Microsoft would make a lot of money already – even with the 30% cut that Apple takes for maintaining the App Store.
On the other hand, Microsoft has a good point, too. 30% of millions of dollars worth of sales is a lot of money – yet 20% (or whatever Microsoft is asking for) is, too. Office for iOS is sure to be a hit among many iOS users who use their devices for work on a daily basis. I can’t imagine Microsoft charging an exorbitant amount of money for the suite through the App Store, so it’s going to need all the money it can take to make sure users of the apps get the latest updates and bug fixes. After all, Office is still a professional suite of software, even if customers start using it on their tablets.
At the end of the day, consumers aren’t going to care who wins the conversations. Apple can certainly afford to eat a bit of cash to finally make Office for iOS available to its user base – but so can Microsoft.
Who do you want to prevail? Does it even matter to you? Or are you really stoked to finally write up Word documents and whip up beautiful PowerPoints on your 9.7- or 7.9-inch iPads?