Apple’s Goes Evil, Heads Toward Diabolical
Sadly, the latest actions by Apple push them from the control-fanatics state to Lawful-Evil. No way to argue it.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, you might not know that Apple has changed the rules in the App Store again. Now (actually, by the end of June), if you are the publisher of an app which uses content purchased elsewhere, you have to make the same content available for in-app purchase, at the same price.
And pay Apple 30% for the privilege.
The early obvious candidate for this include the Kindle app, so popular in the iOS world. Amazon sells you a copy of a book for $10; they send (I believe) 70% of that to the author/publisher. $7. That means Amazon makes $3, out of which they fund their Kindle development, Whispernet maintenance, etc.
If they pay Apple 30%, well, they don’t have much of a business model, do they? The Nook and other eReaders fall into the same situation.
Our philosophy is simple—when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30 percent share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100 percent and Apple earns nothing
… Apple’s terms for publishers offering newspaper, magazine, music, or video subscriptions is very clear: if Apple helps bring in customers, then Apple gets to take a cut of content sales.
See the truth being mongered there? No one would every consume any content on an iPhone if not for the iPhone. Apple bears 100% of the credit for any content accessed on an iPad.
Wow, that’s some towering hubris. Air thin up there?
Ok, let’s roll with this a bit. E-Book Readers are used to access content bought elsewhere; Apple should get a cut. Electronic Magazines, another form of digital content, Apple wants, nay deserves a recurring cut.
Netflix is predicated on a subscription model. Does Apple really deserve 30% of my $8 a month? For delivering 500k of binary code to my phone, one time? Really?
Rhapsody/Pandora/Slacker et al, Apple just unilaterally changed your business model; did it feel good?
CVS has an iPhone app that lets you refill prescriptions; is Apple going to dip their fingers into that transaction? My healthcare?
You know, I buy my MP3’s from Amazon and load them onto my old iPhone via iTunes — does Apple want a cut of those purchases?
Wait, wait, wait! I buy shoes from Amazon via the Amazon app — does Apple want a cut of my shoe purchases?
I mean clearly I would never listen to an MP3, buy shoes, stream bytes, or read a digital book if not for my iPhone, right? Good thing Apple is out there, enabling me
And don’t think there is a substantive difference between digital content purchases and meat-space purchases. Buying a Kindle book from a link inside the Amazon Kindle app and buying a Kindle from inside Amazon’s shopping app both entail exactly the same overhead to Apple: None. If Apple can make a case that they deserve part of the sale proceeds from the former they can make that case regarding the latter.
Understand again, for those who might not be so technical, it costs Apple nothing when Netflix streams a movie to an iPad. Nothing. No resource cost, not overhead cost, nothing. It costs Apple nothing when you download a new Kindle book to your iPad.
In spite of this wave of Nothingness, Apple wants to be paid for it. Astonishing.
Out family spent something more than $2000 on Amazon last year; does Apple really want $600 of that, if I bought it all through the Amazon App? Really?
This kind of decision-making is so ridiculous that my 11-year old daughter lobbied for an Android phone (sans phone contract) to replace her iPod Touch.
Logical Conclusions the Second
So Apple has just made the App Store vastly less useful to large publishers, publishers with there own storefront and delivery system outside of AppleWorld. This is somewhat expected as nothing Apple has ever done has been for the sole reason to make their platform more useful for developers or publishers, and Apple would just as soon there is nothing outside of AppleWorld. Apple says they are in pursuit of the customer experience, but like any capitalist organization, that is a means to a financial end as well. As are most companies, they are in it to make money.
What’s it mean in the end for users and publishers? HTML5 gets to make a big comeback.
How long, really, will it take Amazon to make a fully fledged HTML Kindle reader? Netflix an HTML streaming app? Rhapsody? Pandora?
Longer than they’d like, but not forever. Some standards to push, some code to write, some pragmatic decisions to make. And if a bunch of them band together, spend some effort in building a common UI framework and such, all in HTML5, they could turn out HTML-based apps that come very close to matching native apps. Apple itself has done this in some cases, but the ease of the App Store pushed HTML mobile development down the food chain for the last three years.
Look for it to rise again.