Samsung will temporarily reduce the cut it takes from purchases made inside of apps, the company announced in a blog post Wednesday. From now until the end of April 2014, Samsung will adjust the profit-sharing ratio it has with developers from 70:30, developer-Samsung, to 80:20.
The move is about stimulating “interest and promoting development in the Samsung Apps ecosystem,” according to the company. But there’s a big catch: The deal only applies to profits accrued from in-app purchases rather than the cover price of paid apps, which will stick with the old 70:30 ratio. The adjustment also only applies if developers are using Samsung’s In-App Purchase 2.0 service. Considering that free apps, usually supported by in-app adverts and in-app purchases are much more common on Android than rival platforms, this is probably a smart move by Samsung–it’s chasing the real money.
But Samsung is also cognizant of the fact that while it can use this trick to boost developer interest in its own Android platform, it can’t afford to lose these profits from its own income streams on a permanent basis. The 70:30 ratio is something Samsung copied, of course, from Apple, which championed it across the entire iTunes app ecosystem (sometimes controversially). Is letting developers keep more of their in-app sales going to work? I’m not convinced. It remains sensible, and probably will for a long time, for developers to write for iOS first and then for Android. And making your app Samsung-specific may be a big risk for developers.