Apple will stop taxing in-app tipping, but how much content deserves customer’s tips?

Apple does give in on its tipping tax policy.

On April 19th, wx-pai, Tencent’s official WeChat account, posted two notices in succession saying that the tip function of iOS’s WeChat platform will be closed. This news led to public guesses about the reason behind Tencent’s action. The widely acknowledged one is WeChat’s official explanation:

According to Apple’s in-app purchase (IAP) guidelines (Apps may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchase.), Apple will take a 30 percent cut on tipping from users on iOS’s WeChat platform. After a long-term negotiation, WeChat did not say yes to Apple’s “unreasonable” requirement and had no choice but close iOS WeChat’s tip function.

Here begins the tip battle between Apple and Chinese applications.

Following WeChat, Zhihu, Yingke, Momo, Jinri toutiao and Weibo Q&A had disputes with Apple over the tipping issue.

App Store Review Guidelines serves as the constitution of the App Store. According to the Guidelines updated in June this year, if developers want to unlock features or functionality within app (for example: subscriptions, in-game currencies, game levels, access to premium content, or unlocking a full version), they must use IAP. That means Apple legalizes taxes on in-app tipping.

This policy irritated developers, content creators and fans of content creators. Later, in all sorts of report, self-media denounces Apple’s big shop bullying conduct. After all, nearly one-third of their revenues go to Apple’s pocket. Apple takes away other’s cake and of course annoys them.

In July, Apple indicated that it might stop taxing in-app tipping. In reality, after this fall’s product launch, Apple upgraded its App Store Review Guidelines, which is App Store’s constitution mentioned above. Among all the upgrade, the one attracts the most attention is that: Apple stops taxing P2P tipping on third-party applications, and also forbid developers from getting share out of the tipping.

Apple didn’t make public why the company stops tipping taxes. At the beginning of the disputes that lasts for three months, it’s said that Chinese regulator had received tip-offs that Apple was suspected of being involved in monopoly and illicit competition, and the regulator was making appointment with Apple over the tipping tax issue. Apple’s policy might take many parties’ cakes, hence this issue’s severity intensified and led to collective petition.

In a word, iOS users can reward as they want, the original content creators can get all of their tips. Everyone is happy.

But the trend of content tipping weakens. Creators can get all of their revenue, but are they confident that they can get tips on their own?


This article originally appeared in Huxiu and was translated by Pandaily.

Click here to read the original Chinese article.