Business Insider has been talking to Apple staff and Job’s Mob’s answer is to make a fortune from AI by taxing the hell out of those who are dumb enough to put their Apps on its technology.
Last week, OpenAI launched an iPhone app for ChatGPT that quickly shot to the top of the App Store. As of Friday, ChatGPT was the number one in the category for free apps, and Apple was promoting it as a "must-have" app under its "Essentials" category.
From within the app, users can subscribe to ChatGPT Plus, a premium version that costs $20 per month and offers faster response times and priority access to new features. Because OpenAI does not redirect users to a website where they subscribe but uses Apple's in-app purchasing system, Cupertino is taking it's usual 30 per cent cut.
If ChatGPT Plus were to add five million new subscribers on iOS, that would equate to roughly $1.2 billion in annual revenue. Taking 30 per cent of that, Apple would collect $360 million a year for doing nothing.
No wonder Tim Cook said Jobs’ Mob was in no hurry to develop its own AI products and would "weave" AI into its products "deliberately and thoughtfully."
Apple has also told employees to limit their use of ChatGPT out of fear it will collect confidential information.
While this is an example of how a company which is weak in technology development can still make money by flexing its monopoly powers, we don’t expect anyone in government to rush to tackle this problem.
Apple recently won an antitrust case filed by Fortnite developer Epic Games, which alleged that Apple was acting unlawfully by restricting app distribution on iOS devices and requiring developers to use its payment processor through which it takes a commission on sales.
In short, as far as the law is concerned, Apple’s demands of a cut of the action are perfectly legal. This does not apply to the European Union where Apple will soon begin supporting third-party app stores in the European Union, however, where new laws are intended to level the playing field for developers.