Apple recently introduced its subscription service, “available to all publishers of content-based apps on the App Store℠, including magazines, newspapers, video, music, etc.” Under the scheme, when Apple brings a new subscriber to an app, it pockets 30%.
Unfortunately, there seems to be some confusion over what constitutes “content-based”.
Software as a Service (SaaS) apps are supposed to be exempt. Dropbox is one such app, providing users with a service for a recurring free. However, Readability – which allows users to view ad-free versions of online content – recently found its app rejected from the App Store under the new terms.
One MacRumours reader contacted Steve Jobs for some clarification. Here’s his email:
As a full time iOS developer, I am concerned (and confused) withe the new App Store guideline regarding "Apps offering subscriptions" (section 11.12). Most of the iOS apps I have developed, as a contractor for other businesses, have been free apps that had login screens to allow the user access to some amount of private data. and/or service. These businesses have all been well established companies that sell some kind of service to their customers (Software As a Service companies) and the iOS app was merely another "portal" for their users to access their data/services (in many times, in a limited i.e. "mobile" fashion).... for example; SalesForce. I am concerned that most of these businesses will choose to not develop an iOS app for their customers if the IAP & subscription policy was in place.
Would these type's of free apps be still be allowed in the App Store or will they now be expected to use IAP?”
Jobs reportedly replied with the following characteristically terse statement:
“We created subscriptions for publishing apps, not SaaS apps.”
But again, that takes us back to the question of how exactly a “publishing app” is defined. The confusion continues.