Apple is again accused of unfair commercial practices: after the famous complaint by Spotify, now the Apple is on a collision course with Airbnb and ClassPass, according to reports New York Times. For the moment, it is important to specify, no complaints have been filed, but both companies have reported their question to the United States Congress, in the context of the colossal Antitrust investigation which in a few hours will lead to questions by Sundar Pichai, Mark Zuckerberg , Jeff Bezos and Tim Cook.
ClassPass is a service that allows users to book lessons and workouts in the gym: Airbnb, as many will know, is used to book stays at other people's homes. Both businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and have had to resort to virtual events to make some cash. ClassPass has offered remote videoconference training, Airbnb "experiences" of various types such as cooking lessons, meditation sessions, shows and so on. Apple argues that in this way both apps have turned into digital service vendors, and according to the rules of the App Store they are required to pay 30% of their proceeds into the Apple coffers.
Technically Apple is not wrong – the rules are the same for everyone, on the other hand – but the point of view of the two apps is also easily shared. Among other things, ClassPass has decided not to withhold any percentage on the virtual lessons sold, turning all profits to gyms, fitness centers, independent yoga studios in difficulty. After receiving Apple's notification, the company simply stopped selling this service, thereby cutting off one of the few remaining sources of revenue.
For Airbnb, however, things seem a little different: apparently the intention to sell online experiences was already before the pandemic. It is true that in general the travel sector has suffered a lot from the pandemic, and the company has been forced to lay off thousands of employees. For its part, Apple argues that the platform has earned billions of dollars over the years, also thanks to the iPhone, and without Apple seeing a penny.
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