Coalition for App Fairness adds most major US news publishers
posted Friday Dec 18, 2020 by Scott Ertz
If you're unaware of the Coalition for App Fairness (CAF) or haven't heard about it in a while, you can be forgiven. The organization has often stayed in the shadows, working to fix a problem that the general population is not directly affected by, but developers are - Apple's App Store policies. The organization is led by Epic Games and Spotify but has grown to 50 members, with the newest coming on board this week.
While technically only one new member was added, it is a big get for the movement. The newest member is Digital Content Next, an organization that represents the majority of the major publishers in the United States. Among the group's ranks are The New York Times, Associated Press, and NPR. By adding the major news publishers, adding to the existing European members, the group now has a good fighting force on another front in the Apple monopoly battle - publishing.
Currently, the major battlefront has been general App Store policies. It started with Epic Games suit over the 30 percent "App Store tax," which is forced upon publishers for using the company's proprietary payment system - a feature that most developers don't want to use, but are forced to by Apple. Recently, Apple threw fuel on the fire by dropping the rate to 15 percent for streaming video services but did not extend the same offer to music and news subscription apps. That move was what finally brought Digital Content Next into the fold.
However, there is another aspect of Apple's closed environment that has caused problems recently - Apple News and, more importantly, Apple News+. In June, The New York Times announced that it was removing its content from Apple News entirely over the way Apple was trying to control the distribution of news on its platforms. The publishers were not to receive a large portion of the upcoming Apple News+ revenue, while also being boxed in on content.
Overall, the primary goal of the organization is still on App Store policies, but with multiple ways to show Apple's attempted control over third-party developers, it's got a stronger case for anticompetitive behavior.