Amazon reduces its cut of Appstore revenue from 30% to 20%, effective last week, leaving developers with more revenue

Six months ago, Amazon announced that it would follow in the footsteps of Apple and Google by reducing how much revenue it keeps from Amazon Appstore purchases. Just 3 days from its self-imposed deadline of the end of the year, Amazon has made good on its promise by automatically reducing its cut of appstore revenue from 30% to 20% for all developers that earn less than $1 million a year. The improved revenue share rate for developers apparently started on December 22, 2021, but the second half of what Amazon is calling its Small Business Accelerator program, which will provide developers with free AWS promotional credits, won’t begin until sometime next year.

DISCLAIMER: I publish apps in the Amazon Appstore which earn me revenue. I earn less than $1 million per year and will therefore qualify for this program and will financially benefit from this change. For that reason, my opinions are biased, so I will list only the facts and keep my opinions out of this article.

In addition to the better revenue split of 80% to developers and 20% to Amazon, which used to be 70/30, Amazon will be giving developers AWS promotional credits equivalent to 10 percent of their revenue. There is no specific date or quarter when the AWS credits will begin to be given, other than in 2022, but Amazon says developers that qualify will be notified by email. To qualify for both the improved revenue share and the AWS credits, the developer must have earned less than $1 million in the prior calendar year.

Amazon has provided a few more specifics on how eligibility works, which were missing from the initial announcement earlier in the year. The $1 million earned cut-off is calculated by looking at the entire prior calendar year and is not a running value for the last 12 months. Once a developer that qualifies for the better 80/20 rate earns $1 million in any given year, they will immediately be moved to the worse 70/30 rate. A developer making more than $1 million, who is receiving the worse 70/30 rate, won’t be able to move into the better 80/20 rate until the next calendar year.

Both Apple and Google reduced their revenue share from 70/30 to 85/15 for developers earning less than $1 million. On one hand, Amazon’s improved rate is better for developers because their effective rate will be 90/10 if the developer uses all of the free AWS credits. However, if a developer does not need or use the 10% AWS credits earned, then Apple and Google’s program is superior.

8 comments
  1. Michael says:

    That’s good news. The more Amazon can attract and keep working with great developers like you, the better off we will all be. Since it’s just before the New Year, it’s got to help you and other developer’s plan for the year ahead.

  2. Nate says:

    This is great news all around for developers, in my opinion. This will help incentivize further app development with a greater cut going back to the original developer.

    Elias, forgive my uninformed question, but if someone were to make a donation to you via your Downloader app (E.g. In-app purchases on the primary screen), is this also subject to the 80/20 cut that Amazon takes, or is that cut only subject to an app’s initial purchase price?

    • Yes, the donation buttons within my apps are subject to the 80/20 cut. It applies to all digital goods purchased within apps and the purchase of the app itself. This is the case across all major appstores, including Google and Apple.

  3. TechyChris says:

    100% agree this is a good move. Amazon’s Appstore has been on a slow death spiral for several years in my opinion. Let’s face it, Fire TVs (or any of the Amazon devices) are not known as great gaming platforms. There was a time not too long ago that they could have been. Amazon simply gave up promoting gaming. Clearly, they were not interested in competing with Google or Apple. At one point they had Amazon Game Studios, does that still exist?
    Some years back they were flirting with a beta “Tablet Mode” on Fire TVs to allow mobile games with touch screen controls to function with just the remote. All Gone…
    I say this with due respect to Elias has his apps are mostly specific to Amazon devices, but if I were an app developer, I wouldn’t waste my time making a special port just for Amazon and stick with Google/Apple as my main focus.
    Memories of what could have been…

    • TechyChris says:

      ***Edit***
      I realize now after posting this some folks will say what about Luna?
      I’ve been immersed in the Amazon ecosystem since the first Fire Tablet 10 years ago. I witnessed the Rise, the Golden Age (remember Free App Friday?) and Eventual Decline of Amazon Appstore Games, so I gave up on them and moved to Steam. I don’t have any experience with Luna, and it hasn’t been around long enough for me to form an informed opinion.

      • EmoBrianEno says:

        Fire TVs do however make great emulation machines for cheap. RetroGameCorps on YouTube just did a video on running emulators (RetroArch mostly) on the 4K Max Stick.

        • TechyChris says:

          True and I have used RetroArch, it’s ok.
          I guess my point was (in a very long-winded way) that Amazon is not known as a “Leader / Innovator” in regard to their Appstore or Gaming Business, but years ago they had an opportunity to be just that. Now it’s “catch-up” for them but history shows Amazon may refocus their attention elsewhere.

  4. Liam DIaz says:

    How much do Apple and Google take > 20% still sounds high

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