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Apple Forces Telegram To Halt Sale Of ‘Paid Posts’: ‘Abuse Of Market Dominance’ Claims Durov
Apple is abusing its market dominance to pressure app developers and content creators claimed Telegram CEO Pavel Durov. He was referring to Apple forcing Telegram to shut down the "Paid Posts" feature. Telegram has been trying out new ways of generating revenue, and one of the methods involved allowing users to sell paid posts on their channels. Apple seems to have objected to the way Telegram was earning, apparently by trying to avoid the 30% "Apple Tax".
Apple Asks Telegram CEO To Halt Paid Posts In iOS App
Telegram Chief Executive Officer Pavel Durov has confirmed that the messaging platform had to shut down its Premium services in iOS. Encrypted messaging platform Telegram, has apps for iOS and Android smartphones. Speaking about the forced closure only in the iOS app, Durov said:
"This is just another example of how a trillion-dollar monopoly abuses its market dominance at the expense of millions of users who are trying to monetize their own content. I hope that the regulators in the EU, India, and elsewhere start taking action before Apple destroys more dreams and crushes more entrepreneurs with a tax that is higher than any government-levied VAT."
Telegram has been testing a pay-to-view post feature. It is part of a broader Telegram Premium model that allowed subscribers to sell some of their posts. Users could pay and access the content. Basically, Telegram was testing if users could ask for payment to view certain messages they post and if people were willing to pay for accessing content on the platform.
Telegram is testing pay to view posts?! pic.twitter.com/ZDI5xUpBkR— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) October 27, 2022
Telegram hasn't officially announced the feature yet, which means it was being tested. However, before the feature could go live, Apple asked Telegram to take down the feature from its iOS app.
Why Did Apple Force Telegram To Halt The Feature?
Apple seems to have taken objection to Telegram using external payment platforms, and bypassing the iOS in-app payment system for the Paid Posts feature. Telegram's CEO has claimed that the platform never deployed any system that allowed its users to bypass Apple's payment methods.
"Some content creators started using third-party payment bots to sell access to individual posts in their Telegram channels. This way, content creators could receive close to 100% of whatever their subscribers paid, which was great.
Unfortunately, we received word from Apple that they were not happy with content creators monetizing their efforts without paying a 30% tax to Apple. Since Apple has complete control over its ecosystem, we had no alternative but to disable such paid posts on iOS devices."
It appears certain content creators were utilizing third-party contributions or donations and pay-to-view bots. In other words, Telegram may not have deployed a feature that offered support for external payment methods. However, some users discovered they could deploy algorithms or bots to trick the system, and Apple discovered the practice.
It seems paid posts are available in Telegram's iOS app for a few users. However, according to 9To5Mac, "the app uses its own payment system rather than the App Store's in-app purchases system".
Needless to mention, selling in-app content using alternative payment systems goes against App Store guidelines. Apple charges 15 to 30% commission on every transaction that takes place in the App Store.
Apple has been fighting vehemently to defend its commissions, which go into billions of dollars each year. The company is being gradually forced by some countries to take a lenient stand, and allow developers to use alternative payment methods.