The Apple subscription drama continues. Apple has rejected the Readability app, pointing to a section in its App Store Review Guidelines, which says, "Apps utilizing a system other than the In App Purchase API (IAP) to purchase content, functionality, or services in an app will be rejected."
Readability isn’t thrilled. Readability is an app that strips web articles down to just text to make them easier to read, and pays writers and publishers 70% of its fees.
Rich Ziade, Readability’s creator, has written an open letter to Apple, in which he says:
We’re obviously disappointed by this decision, and surprised by the broad language. By including "functionality, or services," it’s clear that you intend to pursue any subscription-based apps, not merely those of services serving up content. Readability’s model is unique in that 70% of our service fees go directly to writers and publishers. If we implemented In App purchasing, your 30% cut drastically undermines a key premise of how Readability works.
Before we cool down and come to our senses, we might as well share how we’re feeling right now: we believe that your new policy smacks of greed. Subscription apps like ours represent a tiny sliver of app sales that represent a tiny sliver of your revenue. You’ve achieved much of your success in hardware sales by cultivating an incredibly impressive app ecosystem. Every iPad or iPhone TV ad puts the apps developed by companies like ours front and center. It was a healthy and mutually beneficial dynamic: apps like ours get exposure and you get to show the world how these apps make your hardware shine. That’s why we’re a bit baffled here.
To be clear, we believe you have every right to push forward such a policy. In our view, it’s your hardware and your channel and you can put forth any policy you like. But to impose this course on any web service or web application that delivers any value outside of iOS will only discourage smaller ventures like ours to invest in iOS apps for our services. As far as Readability is concerned, our response is fairly straight-forward: go the other way… towards the web.
Apple’s policy has been the subject of a great deal of criticism since it was announced. It’s even being eyed by antitrust regulators.
Last week, we shared some commentary from Pam Horan, President of the Online Publishers Association on the topic.