inessential by Brent Simmons

Apple’s Thirty Percent Cut

Developers will often tell you that Apple’s 30% cut isn’t the worst thing about the App Store, and that it’s actually far down the list.

True. They’re right.

But it’s worth remembering that money really does matter. Say you’re making $70K per year as a salary, and someone asks if you’d like a raise to $90K. You say yes! Because that extra $20K makes a real difference to you and your family.

To an app on the App Store it might mean being able to lower prices — or hire a designer or a couple junior developers. It might be the difference between abandoning an app and getting into a virtuous circle where the app thrives.

Quality costs money, and profitability is just simple arithmetic: anything that affects income — such as Apple’s cut — goes into that equation.

To put it in concrete terms: the difference between 30% and something reasonable like 10% would probably have meant some of my friends would still have their jobs at Omni, and Omni would have more resources to devote to making, testing, and supporting their apps.

But Apple, this immensely rich company, needs 30% of Omni’s and every single other developer’s paycheck?