News broke yesterday that Apple is enforcing all in-app purchases to go through their own payment system, meaning apps can no longer route the users to an external website for payment. The New York Times reported that the Sony eReader app was rejected because of this, and controversy surrounding the matter has ensued, with articles and blogs quick to slam Apple for the move, meaning that publishers and app developers can no longer circumvent paying the 30% Apple commission.
As Apple has pointed out, this isn’t a new rule; they’re simply enforcing a rule that has been, up to now, dodged by some. This is without doubt a clever business move on Apple’s part, but aside from that, the benefits to both publishers and app users seems to have been lost in the many blogs that have condemned the move.
The benefits for customers of online subscription apps / app users:
It will mark a much improved user experience as users will get easier access to their chosen material directly from the App Store in the standard 2 click process. The consumer will no longer have to navigate away from the App Store to third party portals and payment gateways, which often resulted in a much more disjointed and cumbersome process.
The benefits for Publishers / App Owners:
Because of this easy access to content and faster transaction times for consumers, it will mean publishers or app owners benefit from impulse purchases and so increase the volume of sales for publishers. The sheer scale of Apple’s global App Store customer reach will benefit publishers. With over 14 million iPads sold in 2010 and an estimated 45 million in 2011, the App Store offers publishers access to a far wider market than the print versions ever have. Furthermore, these publishers will no longer have to maintain separate billing and subscriptions processes.
This will obviously have huge ramifications for book apps or magazine subscription apps that circumvent the Apple payment system. YUDU’s own communications with apple lead us to believe that these publishers will have only until as early as March 31st to ensure their apps comply with the guideline. YUDU on the other hand have always had a very Apple centric approach and all our apps fully comply with the guidelines – all in-app purchasing from our app solution is via the Apple payment system and so YUDU iPad app clients need not worry, there will be no change.
We believe that the enforcement of this guideline is linked to an announcement that will be made by Apple today at 11am EST / 4pm GMT, to launch their eagerly awaited subscriptions system… more on this to follow!