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Google to Make Similar 85/15 Subscription Split, With a Key Difference

Hours after Apple announced the move, it became known that Google is planning a similar 85/15 split -- with one key difference
Apple's Software
June 9, 2016

Apple announced a big change to the App Store yesterday: a new 85/15 revenue split for developers, which sees Apple take a 15 percent cut of subscription revenue provided the subscription has lasted for longer than one year. Before now, Apple took a standard 30 percent, and as such the change is good news for iOS developers, publishers, and content providers. Google is said to be working on a similar change, too, albeit with one significant difference.

Apple should be doing the same.

According to Re/code, Google's plans are less stringent than Apple's. The company will, like Apple, offer an 85/15 subscription revenue split with developers, but it isn't going to require the subscription to have lasted for more than a year. Instead, Google is giving developers 85 percent revenue on subscriptions immediately in a bid to encourage more development on its Android platform.

Now Google plans to up the ante at its app store: It will also move from a 70/30 split to 85/15 for subscriptions – but instead of requiring developers to hook a subscriber for 12 months before offering the better split, it will make it available right away.

Sources said Google has already been testing the new split with some entertainment companies (so has Apple, to some extent). ​Google started running the new model over a year ago with video services as a way to get Play subscriptions to work with its TV streaming offerings like the Cast dongle.

Personally, I don't see why Apple isn't doing the same. And I wouldn't be surprised if a switch is made by Cupertino now Google's plans are becoming known. Apple and Google are facing resistance, especially on the TV side, from big name companies like Amazon. In particular, subscription revenue seems to be a bone of contention. If Google can offer more attractive terms than Apple, there's a risk deals will be made which leave the Apple TV and tvOS behind.

Apple announced a number of further App Store changes yesterday, including:

  • App Store ads;
  • faster App Store reviews;
  • smart filtering of apps you've already downloaded.

These should reach iOS around fall, likely with the public release of iOS 10.