Apple has finally recognized that their App Store content subscription policy was total bullshit and reversed it, no longer making stupid demands to publishers and other content providers. Their ridiculous pricing and in-app purchase dictates are now gone.
Before, the App Store guidelines said the following:
Apps can read or play approved content (magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, video) that is sold outside of the app, for which Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues, provided that the same content is also offered in the app using IAP at the same price or less than it is offered outside the app. This applies to both purchased content and subscriptions.
The new guidelines change this completely, eliminating any requirement for offering the same price and the requirement to offer external subscriptions as in-app purchases:
Apps can read or play approved content (specifically magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video) that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app, as long as there is no button or external link in the app to purchase the approved content. Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues for approved content that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app.
The change comes right after the Financial Times gave the finger to Apple this week, releasing an HTML5-based app to avoid the then-obligatory Apple's content subscription tax.
Now, the content subscription makes sense for almost everyone, consumers and content publishers alike. Consumers would be free to pay their content in any way they want and publishers would be able to charge anything they want, anywhere they want.
The only unhappy parts here are the book resellers, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If they want people to buy through their apps, they will have to pay Apple a tax. However, that doesn't stop Amazon from pushing content from their web to their iPad and iPhone app, without passing through Apple's controls.
Would this mean that subscription prices in the app store will increase? Maybe in some cases. But if magazines and newspapers want to remain competitive, they would probably have to put up with Apple's cut on the App Store sales, like every other app developer in the world.
It's good to know that Apple can recognize their failures and reverse their draconian impositions from time to time. [MacRumors]