Some of the most draconian restrictions in its App Store subscription rules have been lifted
Last February, when Apple (AAPL) announced the rules by which publishers and other content providers could offer subscriptions through its App Store, Steve Jobs made them sound like the most reasonable thing in the world.
What sounded reasonable to Jobs, however, sounded crazy to publishers. Moreover, it threatened the very existence of some of the most popular third party applications in the App Store, including Amazon’s (AMZN) Kindle, Zinio’s magazine store and Hulu Plus, a joint venture of NBC (NBC), Fox (NWS) and ABC (DIS), among others. See: Steve Jobs to pubs: Our way or highway.
Some publishers caved and went along with Apple’s terms. Some, including Time Inc. (TWX), which publishes this blog, met them half-way. Some, like the Financial Times, pulled out of the App Store and went with a Web app instead. Others threatening to take their business to Google’s (GOOG) Android, which had no such restrictions.
Apple seems to have gotten the message. On Monday, two and a half weeks before the rules were scheduled to take effect, Apple changed them. It scrapped the “same price or better” requirement and allowed content providers that direct customers to subscription offers outside the App Store to do so without giving Apple a 30% cut. As All Things D‘s Peter Kafka put it:
Amazon, which currently uses a button in its Kindle app that takes customers to the Amazon website to purchase books, will have to rewrite its app. But if it wants to keep the revenue flowing from Apple users, it should be able to design a workaround. According to YUDU Media‘s Richard Stephenson, a simple “visit our website” with a live URL would do the trick.
Below: The old terms and the new (via MacRumors).