You might think that their efforts have eventually died down and the issue swept under the rug but CAF, short for the Coalition for App Fairness, is making a lot of noise again. The group led by Epic Games and Spotify have proudly announced the addition of a new member that pretty much means that major US news publishers like The New York Times and Financial Times are now joining in the fight to force app store owners, but mostly Apple really, to change what is being presented as monopolistic and anti-competitive policies.
The coalition actually formally added only one new member, its 50th in fact, but Digital Content Next alone brings in NYT, FT, Associated Press, The Washington Post, and NPR, just to name a small few. This pretty much gives the coalition the backing of most of the US’ news publishers in addition to the already large group of European media organizations earlier this year. And just like the gripes of app developers, these groups are airing their discontent over another one of Apple’s policies, the ones revolving around monetization of news and media.
These news publishers are, of course, subject to the same app tax as normal apps, especially when it comes to subscription fees. That said, media outlets are also at the mercy of relying on a limited set of digital ads because of Apple’s policies against third-party cookies and similar techniques. And then there’s Apple’s new News+ subscription, which further put content in Apple’s control rather than the publishers themselves.
Then there’s also the accusation of preferential treatment for other app owners and companies. Apple recently reduced its app tax to 15% for video subscription apps, largely seen as a move to woo Amazon. Music and news subscription apps, however, have not enjoyed similar treatment.
The question now is whether the CAF has enough weight to actually get the changes it wants to be implemented. While its numbers are slowly increasing, there is still no sign from Apple that it will be changing its ways, especially not while it is dealing with one CAF founding member in court over Fortnite.