Telegram is reportedly removing a feature that allowed users to collect payments from specific posts they made on the messaging app’s groups as it violated Apple’s strict rules for all apps listed in their virtual store.
According to the founder of Telegram, Pavel Durov, the feature was not introduced by the company. Instead, some users have been using bots and donation sites to redirect their following to pay for accessing certain posts by using a third-party payment processing system rather than Apple’s platform.
Founder of Telegram Calls Apple an Abusive Monopoly
Durov slammed the company headed by Tim Cook for abusing its dominance in the mobile app market and called out regulators to take action to regulate the cut that the firm takes from the revenues generated by developers.
“Unfortunately, we received word from Apple (AAPL) that they were not happy with content creators monetizing their efforts without paying a 30% tax to Apple”, Durov commented in a statement published on Telegram.
He added: “Since Apple has complete control over its ecosystem, we had no alternative but to disable such paid posts on iOS devices”.
Even though Durov refrained from saying that the feature was an initiative developed and promoted by Telegram itself, rumors were already circulating on the web that the firm was testing paid posts to allow creators to earn money from publishing premium content.
The reason for this is that an intentional breach of Apple’s payment guidelines could lead to negative consequences for Telegram such as being sued by the company for breach of contract or delisted from the App Store in extreme cases.
Regulators in Various Corners of the World Are Taking Action Already
The elevated commissions that Apple and Alphabet (GOOG) – the parent company of Google – charge to developers who list their software in their mobile app stores have been the subject of controversy in many corners of the world and have led regulators to impose fines and change the rules to prevent the company from monopolizing the market.
Just a few days ago, India imposed fines of nearly $300 million on Alphabet for its practices concerning the “licensable mobile OS and app stores for Android OS”. In addition, the country’s Competition Commission, also known as the CCI, mandated that the company must allow developers to third-party payment platforms to process in-app purchases.
South Korea also forced Apple to allow developers to rely on third-party software to process these purchases as a result of the recently approved Telecommunications Business Act.
Similarly, the Digital Markets Act (DMA) approved by the European Commission recently could also force the company to change its practices concerning the collection of payments made by users to mobile app developers.
Mobile App Revenues Are No Small Thing to Apple
The mobile app market is expected to generate revenues exceeding $600 billion by 2026 according to data compiled by Statista. In 2022 alone, in-app purchases generated more than $200 billion in revenues for developers.
The market is a duopoly as Apple and Google’s stores are the most popular and widely used marketplaces for both developers and users as their mobile operating systems (iOS and Android) dominate the industry.
Data from Statista suggests that nearly 63% of the revenues generated by mobile apps are made by iOS developers, meaning that the company could process nearly $400 billion in revenue by using its payment software by 2026.
If the firm’s commissions are 30% of that total, Apple’s marketplace produced around $70 billion for the firm in 2021 and could generate approximately $120 billion for the firm by then. In 2021, Apple produced total revenues of $365.8 billion.
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