Apple has just released new App Store policies for in-app subscription sales. With the coming release of iOS 4.3, your iOS device will now be able to support in-app subscription sales, but there is a catch, Apple is asking for in-app subscription companies to pay a 30% fee, just like other in-app purchases. Any titles that involve subscriptions or purchasable content will have to offer an in-app option that cannot be more expensive than anywhere else. This will pose a problem for developers and vendors. They aren’t allowed to provide a link to an outside market for things that can be purchased within an app. In general, that means if I was a developer, I wouldn’t be able to sell an app that directs users to my own website to buy a subscription to my content. I would still be able to sell my subscriptions to customers I found on my own. It is also mandatory to make it possible for users of my app to purchase my subscription content through iTunes if I want to put my app on iTunes. There is also some reason why this is not a bad idea. Apple actually acts as a newsstand when it provides subscription. Apple provides the subscription service, manages the delivery of the content, and acts as a tollbooth by taking 30% of the revenue.
There is also an alternative called the Google Way, which makes content free when it’s placed next to ads. The downside is that the content generator gets a tiny fraction of the minimal ad revenue generated.
A big issue about this is that Apple thinks it is simple that if Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple should receive 30% of the revenue, but if a publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publishers keeps all 100% of the revenue. But can you really say that Apple brought a person to the app if the person decides to search up the app for a subscription because they already knew ahead of time that they wanted to subscribe to that certain company? You can’t really say that Apple brought the customer to that app. Another big issue is that maybe companies will decide to not make an app to begin with anymore. Big companies may decide that they don’t need to provide their service on iOS devices. What will we do now? There are many issues that will arise from this and it would be best to avoid it. I think Apple should rethink their ideas.
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