Readability App Becomes Victim of Apple's Dumb Subscription Policy

Illustration for article titled Readability App Becomes Victim of Apple's Dumb Subscription Policy

Readability, a service that strips ads and other web junk from stuff published online, just had their app rejected from the App Store, victim to Apple's exceedingly unreasonable subscription policy for iOS. Don't worry, small developers of the world, Apple will be making you say Uncle, too!


Here's the gist of things: Apple's now requiring subscription-based apps to offer those subscriptions through a new iOS API and taking 30% of the money from those subscriptions for themselves. Readability is built on a model that gives 70% of service fees back to writers and publishers. Carving 30% of out of that just doesn't make sense.

The team isn't mincing words about their frustration in a letter posted on their blog:

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.

Adding to the grossness of it all, Apple uses Readability's software in Safari. For now, they're saying they'll focus on developing Readability for the web. But as more developers get screwed and speak up, hopefully Apple will be forced to rethink their 30% tithe. [Readability via TechCrunch]


Hallucinogenic Froggy

Wake up, Apple can and will do everything they want. It's a private company, above all, and their goal is to make money. As to whether or not 70/30 % is fair.. well, I know for a fact that the publishing industry is looking at ways to make more money. Apple provides a service that offers content to millions of people, while reducing costs like publishing and distribution...

Also, an open letter by a developer, even a moderately well known one among us geeks, won't change a thing, simply because the only people that are going to read it are us geeks.

For apple, loosing a small company like this means nothing. It won't be a PR disaster, far from it, and the fact is that major publishing companies are going to love publishing on iOS. It offers a simple ( both for the consumer and the dev ) and reliable way to put content out there, and also has one of the largest install bases available.

Google, even though it's catching up, and even getting infront of Apple on some points, is still far behind on the quality of the developers and major companies putting content on the android market. One reason for this is that people that browse the market don't trust the developers, and the developers don't think the content they will publish on the android app store ( and rightly so ) is capable of paying the bills.

This new subscription policy is going to work. Probably even work well.