I mentioned the Apple Appstore earlier with regards to the sale of and subscription to newspapers and magazines. In the area of Music and more recently Movies, TV Shows and Software applications they have certainly made it easy for producers to find a market and consumers to easily purchase content. So, just as with the other content before them they are putting out fire while the Publishers are still fiddling.
I’m not saying I agree with Apple’s 30% cut, but understand the logic behind keeping the model simple and know the market will decide if the terms are acceptable or not. It certainly won’t be the large Media organisations who have so fumbled the move to digital and have no entitlement to dictate terms.
John Gruber, always to be relied on to pick up the baton on behalf of Apple, in his article responding to the “reasonable arguments against Apple’s (in-app subscription) policies” writes:
Apple sees the entire App Store, along with all native iOS apps, as an upscale, premium software store: owned, controlled, and managed like a physical shopping mall. Brick and mortar retailers don’t settle for a single-digit cut of retail prices; neither does the App Store.
In other words, they are providing space, just as a department store does for physical goods, for those without a natural retail presence to sell their goods. It’s up to the creator or the publisher to deliver content and applications which people want to buy.
The difference being that nor do they charge publishers rent for having their products on the shelves, neither do they ask them for under the counter payments to put that product on the best shelves. In other words, without a sale, 30% of nothing is nothing.
I do believe Gruber misses one point which negates many of the complaints about the 30% payment for in-app subscriptions.
Most of the applications providing these in-App subscriptions are likely to be free to download onto iOS devices. So in effect – and just with all the other free Applications which Apple host – the free applications have been subsidised by the 30% cut from paid applications for some years.
And that’s been a good model for them and the application publishers, many of whom have, with the popularity of their free application, felt comfortable introducing a paid for version or in-app purchases over time. But if those free applications – which Apple has no other way of making back the costs of hosting, reviewing and serving – then start to make money through in-App subscriptions, then why shouldn’t Apple get a cut?