Telegram and its users are avoiding Apple’s strict payment guidelines.
The encrypted messaging platform has had to crack down on its iOS users who create paid posts through third-party methods because they violate Apple’s payment policies.
Until recently, the messaging platform allowed channels to set up paid content (opens in new tab) through the help of payment bots. Telegram was not testing a new feature. The company simply, and quietly, allowed creators to use an independent payment system away from Apple’s clutches. Content creators can set prices and let their fans support them directly. Telegram CEO Pavel Durov said in a recent post (opens in new tab) that creators would get “close to 100 percent of what their subscribers pay…” However, that will all go away when Apple finds out about the payments and isn’t happy it isn’t getting its 30 percent tax cut.
Durov claims that because “Apple has full control over its ecosystem,” the developer has no choice but to disable paid posts on iOS. Presumably, if that doesn’t happen, Telegram would be removed from the App Store.
Durov continues to accuse Apple of destroying developers’ dreams and “[crushing] entrepreneurs with a higher tax than any VAT levied by the government (value added tax)”. He calls on regulators around the world to take action against “a trillion-dollar monopoly [abusing] its market dominance.
Telegram says it will continue to work on new tools for creators “to monetize their content – outside of Apple’s restrictive ecosystem.” As an example, he bypassed the App Store fees for Telegram Premium by allowing users to subscribe through the @PremiumBot at a discount (opens in new tab). We contacted the developer and asked what will happen on Android. From the looks of it, paid posts will continue to appear on Android devices. This story will be updated if we receive a response.
If this all sounds really familiar, it’s because something similar has happened before.
In 2021, video game developer Epic Games sued Apple after it pulled Fortnite from its App Store. according to reports, Epic “broke its deal with Apple” by allowing players to purchase in-game currency through third-party methods and evading the 30% tax. The judge in the case ended up ruling in Apple’s favor, but court appeals continue to this day.
Since the lawsuit, we’ve started to see other entities speaking out against Apple. You have the likes Spotify (opens in new tab) calling the tech giant “anti-competitive” because of App Store rules that make buying an audiobook overly complicated. Twitter Discovery Elon Musk said in May (opens in new tab) that 30% is “10 times what it should be” and South Korea thought so too. The nation passed a law last year forcing Apple and Google to allow developers to use third-party payment systems and not pay the hefty tax.
The current state of the App Store is a hot topic as it was arguably the envy of the industry at one point, but public sentiment has changed. Be sure to read our recent Opinion article on why the Apple App Store is hurting the iPhone experience.