The warning in a regulatory filing Friday came amid criticism from lawmakers and others about the cut of as much as 30% that Apple takes from third-party developers selling software through the App Store across the iPhone maker’s devices.
“If the rate of the commission that the company retains on such sales is reduced, or if it is otherwise narrowed in scope or eliminated, the company’s financial condition and operating results could be materially adversely affected,” Apple said in the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Since the start of the App Store Apple has maintained a baseline 30% cut that it takes from developers for in-app purchases. That commission has largely been agreed to, until more recently when Epic Games and a collation of other developers began amplifying pressure on the Cupertino tech-giant to change its rules.
For the most part, Epic Games is arguing that Apple doesn’t deserve a cut, despite Apple’s position that in-app purchases occur within the realms of services and ecosystems it provides. In court, Apple vehemently declined any allegation that the commission, or its App Stores rules as a whole, impends competition and innovation.
In a possible development in its fight with Epic Games, today’s note to investors today may have been a shot in the foot. Apple has indirectly framed the narrative that it has “the right” to take a commission from developers, but today’s warning to investors makes it seem more of a business requirement than a right. Depending on how Epic perceives this, it could backfire against Apple in future court hearings.