Apple changes in-app purchasing rules for publishers
- As long as publishers don't have an in-app button or external link within the app to purchase a new subscription on an external store, publishers can display subscribed content, and get around giving Apple a 30% cut of revenue.
- Publishers can now markup subscription prices within apps to cover Apple's cut of the subscription price.
Is this enough to bring the big publishers into Apple's fold? Perhaps. The door has certainly been opened. But the problem, as I see it, is that neither side is bringing everything to the table. Apple was quoted in the article as having billing relationships "with 225 million customers", which could be a huge boost to digital subscriptions.
That's great. But they also want a 30% rev-share without providing much more than audience access. Something publishers currently have in a non-digital format, in spades, along with a big chunk of audience loyalty. The price is simply too steep for publishers not to build their own distribution channels. If Apple wants to own 'the pipes', they need a better sales proposition.
It's like cable T.V. without the network programming -- good content sounds easy; until you try to fill 500 channels.
Good businesses should know when they're getting greedy. It seems that Apple's got their eyes open now; but whether they can become a utility-like company (in the gas, hydro and telephone company sense) will depend on their long term vision. Investing now, for becoming infrastructure-esque later... Unfortunately, as much as I like Apple, I think they've got the blinders on.