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Apple To Keep 30% of Magazine Subscription Revenue

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the more-for-me-less-for-you dept.

Businesses 381

Hugh Pickens writes writes "The Guardian reports that Apple has launched a new subscription service for magazines, newspapers and music bought through its App Store, expanding the model developed for Rupert Murdoch's iPad newspaper and will keep 30% of the revenue from subscriptions if the subscription is purchased through Apple. 'Our philosophy is simple – when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30% share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100% and Apple earns nothing,' says Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive, who is presently taking a medical leave of absence from the company. 'All we require is that, if a publisher is making a subscription offer outside of the app, the same – or better – offer be made inside the app, so that customers can easily subscribe with one click right in the app.' Apple's control over its App Store payments plan has long been a cause for concern for content companies. Publishers want to have access to subscriber data which can provide lucrative demographics on which to base advertising campaigns and targeted reader offers. Apple says customers purchasing a subscription through its App Store will be given the option of providing the publisher with their names, email addresses and zip codes. The use of such information will be governed by the publisher's privacy policy rather than Apple's."

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381 comments

Isn't this better than mailing dead trees? (5, Insightful)

bigzoom (1996992) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213562)

Publishers in the print world will happily sell subscriptions for less than the price of postage in order to increase their paid subscription count (and hence their ad dollars). To get 70% of the subscription money, all of the ad money, and have no printing/postage costs actually doesn't sound too bad for publishers. If Apple demanded that they get 30% of ad revenue too, that would start to be a much larger issue.

But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213642)

To get 70% of the subscription money, all of the ad money, and have no printing/postage costs actually doesn't sound too bad for publishers.

Okay but why not just go to the Android Market where you get 100% of the subscription money, all of the ad money, and have no printing/postage costs?

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (4, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213668)

Because Apple does a much better job about delivering a large set of eyeballs attached to people who are already trained to pay out money for cool shiny things. Apple is primarilly a marketing company and they are damn good at it. I am not in their target demographic: young, trendy, willing to spend money for the cool factor. So Apple delivers the right audience for online magazines.

I suspect most droid users would say "fuck it... I can get the same info for free if I just spend 10 seconds and Google it".

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35213838)

Because Apple does a much better job about delivering a large set of eyeballs attached to people who are already trained to pay out money for cool shiny things. Apple is primarilly a marketing company and they are damn good at it. I am not in their target demographic: young, trendy, willing to spend money for the cool factor. So Apple delivers the right audience for online magazines.

I suspect most droid users would say "fuck it... I can get the same info for free if I just spend 10 seconds and Google it".

Apple is primarily a marketing company?

Then why do they have what many in the industry consider to be the best OS, running on the best-manufactured hardware? Some consider Apple behind on tech; but I think the real answer is that they don't simply jump at every new buzzword the electronic salespeople try to sell them. Their products ALL have a fantastic build quality, and their notebooks generally last far longer than the equivalent plastic pieces of crap that pretty much everyone else foists on the buying public.

That isn't marketing: It's Product Engineering. And Apple pretty much owns the industry in that regard.

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (0, Flamebait)

rivetgeek (977479) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213900)

Nobody considered iOS to be the best OS. Nobody

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35214286)

I know a lot of people who feel that iOS is far superior when compared to the other options. In TFA, nobody said that, but then again nobody read the article...

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213902)

The Best OS? Which one? And based on what?

The best manufactured hardware? Foxxcon will build at whatever quality you want for anyone. Product Engineering is just slapping COTS stuff together in a shiny case.

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (3, Informative)

lostmongoose (1094523) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213916)

Who is this 'everybody' you speak of? Best OS? Subjective. Best hardware? Laughable. It's the same commodity hardware EVERY company uses inside a fancy Apply case.

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35214266)

Point me to non-Apple version of the 13" MacBook Air.

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (1, Informative)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214428)

(edit after preview: for some reason the comment system is adding a ton of extra carriage returns - I didn't type it this way)

The case is part of the hardware. I want all of that commodity stuff they put inside (it makes obtaining upgrades and repairing easier, and with the same architecture underneath it makes cross platform software development easier offering a larger selection of software for me to use).

What I *don't* want is the shitty, noisy, tacky plastic cases that come with most PCs. I am under no illusions that the hardware *inside* my iMac is much the same as any other PC, but it's the entire package that I bought, not just the internal hardware.

The price premium (about 20% over an equivalent machine at the time I bought it, over 4 years ago) was well worth it. This is typical across the whole range - the physical hardware is rated very highly across the industry, mainly because the bar is set so low by generic PCs with really crappy cases, both laptop and desktop.

The best OS claim is subjective, but the beauty is you can run your choice of OS on an Apple - it's no irony that one of the best Windows laptops is the Macbook Pro.

The "fancy Apply case" is not just for show. It may not be worth it to you, but that doesn't just make it noise in the signal.

I will also add a major disclaimer, to head off the inevitable "but their hardware is crap" posts: the preceding post does not mean I think the hardware is perfect, or that it doesn't have some design issues that I would personally change, for example, the I/O ports on the iMac are on the back because they're right on the logic board, but it makes then annoying to access if you have a USB stick, so you really need a hub so you don;t have to fumble about back there - adding a port on the side [just under where they put the SD card slot on the new iMacs) would be my number one change. There have also been issues with some design features on other products - the mighty mouse with the tiny trackball, for example, and the issues with certain laptop power cables before the redesign.

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (3, Interesting)

Goaway (82658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214434)

Apple hardware is pretty far from "commodity", if you actually try opening it up.

(Or using it.)

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (2)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214142)

Then why do they have what many in the industry consider to be the best OS, running on the best-manufactured hardware?

Well, many people in the industry consider it to be the best OS and hardware because of Apple's marketing.

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214454)

Marketing will only get you so far. You have to back it up with actual product quality too.

After this amount of time, even with sometimes fantastical (some say magical!) marketing, if they were selling polished turds people would stop buying.

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (1)

Rogue974 (657982) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214320)

This AC is proof of the fact the Apple is primarily a Marketing company. It is what they do best and they do it so well, that people blindly believe they are the best at everything despite any actual evidence.

Doesn't matter what the quality is of what you make if the marketing is so good that everyone believes it is the best and they must have it. That is marketing, not product engineering.

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35214452)

You typed that on your iPad, didn't you?

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213850)

>>>people who are already trained to pay out money for cool shiny things

So it's like a luxury tax. The old dead-tree distributors charge 7 cents per copy, while Apple is charging 10-15 times that amount. Thanks for clarifying. :-)

>>>I can get the same info for free if I just spend 10 seconds and Google it".

Well that's true. Some magazines give their content away for free, or authors publish it on their personal websites after a suitable amount of time (say six months after publication).

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214388)

So it's like a luxury tax. The old dead-tree distributors charge 7 cents per copy, while Apple is charging 10-15 times that amount. Thanks for clarifying. :-)

Should Apple be seen in this context as distributor or newspaper stand? Also, isn't the nature of business to ask for an amount and then see how the market reacts and then adjust accordingly? If the print industry doesn't like it, they can either get together and negotiate a better deal or decide that whatever Apple is charging them is actually better than not getting those customers - if that is indeed the case. Sometimes you need to accept that 70% of something is better than 100% of next to nothing.

As to the Android argument, well if the Android market got its act into gear it could actually become more appealing. At the moment it feels a little disorganized.

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213978)

Because Apple does a much better job about delivering a large set of eyeballs attached to people who are already trained to pay out money for cool shiny things.

Oh, get over it. Apple consumers are no more conditioned to buy shiny things than anybody else, and, in case you haven't been paying attention .... absolutely everybody is scrambling to go to a locked down marketplace so they can "monetize the eyeballs". Apple does a better job of providing an integrated experience that just 'works' without all sorts of extraneous fiddly bits that 99% of the people will never use.

I am not in their target demographic: young, trendy, willing to spend money for the cool factor.

Well, I'm old, geeky, and have never purchased anything from the iTunes store. I am however willing to pay a premium for a device which actually works the way I want it to. But, hey, feel free to enjoy your Zune and your WinCE-based device if it makes you feel any better -- I'm sure they're really great things.

I suspect most droid users would say "fuck it... I can get the same info for free if I just spend 10 seconds and Google it".

Well, given that I read my news primarily in my Google news, I don't know who is going to subscribe to Murdoch's magazine (hint, it won't be "young and trendy"). But, clearly, they feel that someone is lining up to purchase this.

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214084)

1) Oh, get over it. Apple consumers are no more conditioned to buy shiny things than anybody else

Disagree. Apple is a wonderful marketing company.

2) absolutely everybody is scrambling to go to a locked down marketplace so they can "monetize the eyeballs"

Absolutely agree. Apple does it much better than the other big companies. Evidence? Look at their MASSIVE stock price premium as compared to quarterly or annual earnings per share. Investors aren't stupid. They know Apple has positioned themselves well.

3) Apple does a better job of providing an integrated experience that just 'works' without all sorts of extraneous fiddly bits that 99% of the people will never use.

Again, we agree.

4) Well, given that I read my news primarily in my Google news, I don't know who is going to subscribe to Murdoch's magazine (hint, it won't be "young and trendy"). But, clearly, they feel that someone is lining up to purchase this.

Yet again we agree. The "folks willing to purchase" this category lines up well with Apple's target demographic.

For agreeing with me on almost all points, your sure took a hostile tone. I really don't get the crux of where you think we differ.

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (2)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214438)

Absolutely agree. Apple does it much better than the other big companies. Evidence? Look at their MASSIVE stock price premium as compared to quarterly or annual earnings per share. Investors aren't stupid. They know Apple has positioned themselves well.

The true zen investor might say that's a good example of their marketing prowess, as well.

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35214068)

Apple is primarilly a marketing company

Last I checked, they were a hardware company who happens to realize that marketing is important.

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35213714)

Full disclosure I have an iPhone, a PowerBook, an XServe, and a MBP. I like Apple products.

Apple delivers hundreds of thousands of customers with credit cards linked to a buy button.
We have no qualms paying for content.
We make better customers than the Android market.
We buy more, more often.

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35213988)

I'm an Apple and I like to take it. No wonder iPhone users have more sex. [okcupid.com]

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214192)

Yeah, but what phone do you use if you want to have sex with *women*?

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35214016)

And finally someone realized that the content created by a journalist and photographer is the same as the content created by a programmer that put birds into a catapult-- it is all just content and Apple will take its same 30%.

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35213740)

Because there is not a single android tablet in or near (within 2011) production that will appeal to the average user? Geeks maybe, but not Mr. Averageman.

How does the android market get paid? (2)

hellfire (86129) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213760)

This is a serious question. Apple set up the App store with the intent that they host and provide ads and what not, and they get their 30%. They are in fact providing services, so Apple's model makes sense to me, at least in terms of fairness. In terms of competition it's an entirely different matter.

It's fairly easy to post a free app to a specific Market, which is marketed and hosted by the android market, but since it's free, they get no money. You could then create an in app subscription model where you get all the subscription fees and the Android market gets nothing even though they are doing some of the lifting for you, namely app marketing and hosting.

Originally the iTunes store was a loss leader for selling iPods and creating a top to bottom environment for people to buy and consume content. Now it's a money making powerhouse for all iOS devices. Perhaps the Android Market is doing the same thing in it's early stages, but it doesn't have the benefit of music or movie downloads to help (does it?) and it would have to start turning a profit quickly to be sustainable unless Google plans on simply sinking money into it.

Again this is a serious question I'm trying to understand the model.

How the Android Market gets paid (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213968)

Like iTunes, the Android Market charges 30% on app purchases and 30% on in-app purchases conducted through the Market, as well. The difference is that the Open Handset Alliance doesn't require you to use the Android Market to deliver apps to Android devices, and does not appear require that content subscriptions are available through in-app purchase on the same terms as out-of-app purchases (they do require that payment you receive for the app itself be through the Market, but do not appear to prohibit out-of-Market purchases for services or content that may be accessed through the app, especially services/content that are not exclusive to the app so that they aren't just a form of payment for the app.)

The Android Market gets paid by encouraging developers that using the Market is worth using for distributing apps and for in-app purchases.

Re:How the Android Market gets paid (1)

doctormetal (62102) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214212)

You forget the advertising in most free apps. Why do you think Google bought AdMob?

Because the iOS experience is better in every way (0)

jmcbain (1233044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213808)

There is not a single Android tablet in the market now or in the near future that comes even remotely close to the user experience provided by the iPad. I've had one since April of last year, and it's pretty much the only thing I use when I get home.

Re:Because the iOS experience is better in every w (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214126)

Yet the iPad experience is also woeful. App switching and the lack of multi-tasking is a woeful experience.. After ten minutes use the task bar of previously used apps is full and you're left scrolling to find the app you want.

Text entry is abysmal - where's the numeric row on the keyboard. If you can fit three rows on an iPhone, you can easily fit four rows on an iPad.

Mobile Safari is a poor excuse for a browser. No tabs, no ad blocking. No flash. Burrying your head in the sand and pretending it doesn't exist won't make it go away.

Apple's rules on apps mean there's no integrated groupware. Want to check your email and calendar first thing in the morning, you need to switch between two applications.

The iBooks app doesn't even let you organise your books onto separate shelves or into folders.

You're absolutely correct. No other tablet comes close. Yet. As the Android tablets mature, there are countless areas that they will be able to deliver a better end user experience than Apple's effort.

Re:Because the iOS experience is better in every w (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35214218)

Most of your criticisms are just opinions (you think this is a bad implementation of feature X) so I'm not going to address them since the factual informations is correct. One in particular is an incorrect statement of fact. iBooks does let you organize your books in the latest version.

Re:Because the iOS experience is better in every w (0)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214476)

I have used an iPad and a Galaxy. The iPad is okay for Angry Birds, but unusable for anything involving text. Scrolling is erratic. Text selection ranges from frustrating to impossible. The magnifier comes up all the time when I am trying to do something else. Flipping from one orientation to the other is buggy.

The Galaxy is quite usable.

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214200)

Because 100% of $2000 isn't as much as 70% of $20mil?

(And yes I'm making up these numbers, but you'd have to be a troll not to understand the difference in scale here).

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214272)

I'm sure lots of publishers will. And ALSO have iOS apps. You know, for all those millions of people who iOS devices.

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35214332)

To get 70% of the subscription money, all of the ad money, and have no printing/postage costs actually doesn't sound too bad for publishers.

Okay but why not just go to the Android Market where you get 100% of the subscription money, all of the ad money, and have no printing/postage costs?

Why not do both, Android and iOS? And RIM as well for good measure.

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214408)

So you're saying zero revenue from iPhone users is better than 70% of the revenue from iPhone users? Or do you somehow think that iPhone users will be buying their Apps from the Android Market? Or do you think that every iPhone user will switch to Android to get access to one or two subscription services that are mad at Apple?

Or is this just a fanboy comment and we shouldn't think about it (because thinking ruins the essential experience)?

Re:But Worse Than Distributing on Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35214446)

To get 70% of the subscription money, all of the ad money, and have no printing/postage costs actually doesn't sound too bad for publishers.

Okay but why not just go to the Android Market where you get 100% of the subscription money, all of the ad money, and have no printing/postage costs?

Because 100% of diddly-shit is still diddly-shit?

Re:Isn't this better than mailing dead trees? (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213748)

No.

Dead tree distributors only charge ~2% for a surcharge. Apple's pricetag is 30% and they don't even have to pay postage/handling fees to send the magazines to customers (or stores).

Re:Isn't this better than mailing dead trees? (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213828)

No.

Dead tree distributors only charge ~2% for a surcharge. Apple's pricetag is 30% and they don't even have to pay postage/handling fees to send the magazines to customers (or stores).

The App Store data centers and bandwidth don't cost anything to maintain I guess.

Re:Isn't this better than mailing dead trees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35213904)

Even if apple does house all the magazine information supplied to the app in their servers (which I doubt, as amazon would not want to use apple servers for anything other than the bare 2 mb of space the app takes up), publishers would be MORE than happy to pay the small fees required for their own servers. For a magazine subscription only server i would bet it could cost as little as 100 dollars a month for EVERY subscriber a magazine could find.

Re:Isn't this better than mailing dead trees? (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213970)

>>>The App Store data centers and bandwidth don't cost anything to maintain I guess.

Strawman argument. I didn't say that. What I did say (or imply) is the cost of that electricity for data centers certainly doesn't cost 15 times what dead-tree magazine distributors charge (for postage). It should be less or the same.

Re:Isn't this better than mailing dead trees? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214510)

What about the salaries of the people looking after those data centres and the App Store itself?

Re:Isn't this better than mailing dead trees? (4, Insightful)

Albanach (527650) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213840)

A magazine has much better control of their costs as they are typically being distributed by the publisher directly.

This move by Apple is intended to punish Apple's competitors, that's other distributors and in particular Amazon. There's no way Amazon can afford to give Apple a 30% cut of sales, since their margin is significantly lower than that.

Other subscription services could also suffer. Will this extend to Pandora/Spotify etc? Again there's no way they could afford to give apple 1/3 of their subscription fee as their margin is going to be lower than that.

Apple really want content producers to make direct deals with them, cutting out the middlemen that are making money on Apple's platform. Cutting competition lets them keep prices, margins and profits high.

Re:Isn't this better than mailing dead trees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35214382)

cutting out the middlemen that are making money on Apple's platform

Apple forces people to use the Apple platform to distribute, You make it sound like Apple would be giving other companies a free ride if they didn't charge. I watch whatever I want on my Mitsubishi TV without paying Mitsubishi a monthly fee and I'm not forced to watch only what Mitsubishi offers.
Imagine if Comcast started taking a cut of all sales you made while using their internet service?

Re:Isn't this better than mailing dead trees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35213918)

Magnelab UCT-1250 measures alternating current sensing ac current from 30 amps to 400 amperes.

Re:Isn't this better than mailing dead trees? (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213926)

That only makes sense if you assume the people who subscribe via the application, would not have subscribed otherwise. If you don't make that assumption then you notice, there is the possibility of losing money.

Ex:
  User 1 - I like newspaper X, I'll see if they have it available on my iDevice.
  User 2- Oh, look, newspaper X has an app on the app store, why not get it?

This costs newspaper X money in the case of User 1, and increases profit in the case of User 2. Now companies have to decide - is the gain from the second category worth the loss in the first?

Re:Isn't this better than mailing dead trees? (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214328)

You probably think the cost of books is all in the paper and delivery too. Losing 30% of the top line may well be more than the cost of bulk publication and distribution. You still have to pay for content and editing and "pre-press" for the digital edition could well be more expensive in terms of labor cost. Further, you assume that advertisers will pay the same (or better) to be in this digital edition. You have nothing to base that on and if recent trends in demand for subscription based media on the iPad are any indication, ad rates are going to plummet.

The Future Niche Market of the iPhone (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213570)

Did they just wait around for Murdoch's The Daily experiment for this [slashdot.org]? Is this just round two of wait-for-third-parties-to-develop-apps-and-then-hold-them-ransom like with eBooks [slashdot.org]? What's next?

If I were a mobile app developer I'd be asking myself right now if it's a smart idea to try to plan a viable business plan around iOS right now. Any good will you build by bringing people to iOS with your app is totally overlooked by Apple while any customers "they bring" to you runs a hefty 30% Apple tax.

I think it's highway robbery but I'm okay with it because I didn't buy into that bullshit. I bought into Android and instead of lording my decision over everybody I'm just going to remind everyone that the long run has been predicted [slashdot.org] by many industries [yahoo.com]. Apple and Blackberry will remain as niche players but it's going to be an Android future. So go ahead and hold publisher's -- who already hemorrhage cash -- feet to the fire. It's just going to hasten your fall.

Apple sits atop a crumbling marketshare (Schmidt claims 300,000 activations a day [nwsource.com]) and their response is to turn the screws on the third parties that set them apart from the competition? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me ...

Re:The Future Niche Market of the iPhone (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213694)

I'd *like* to believe that developers and publishers will stand up to Steve Jobs in the end. I really would. But years of Jobs acting more and more like an thuggish autocrat doesn't seem to have hurt his indie cache in the slightest. Pretentious college students still act like owning an Apple makes than freedom fighters. Most people still associate buying an Apple with sticking it to the man, somehow. And no one seems to care about all the heavy-handed shit that Apple has been doing behind the scenes.

Years after Bill Gates started doing charity work and Jobs started locking down all his new platforms, who is it that's still villainized on /. ? You don't see Steve Jobs as a Borg, do you?

And now that you can buy an iPhone on Verizon, I think it will only get worse (since a lot of people I know only bought Android because they hated AT&T's shitty network).

Re:The Future Niche Market of the iPhone (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213908)

Years after Bill Gates started doing charity work and Jobs started locking down all his new platforms, who is it that's still villainized on /. ? You don't see Steve Jobs as a Borg, do you?

Jobs isn't exactly Borg though.

How about Raven, the elitist asshole [penny-arcade.com] for the icon?

Re:The Future Niche Market of the iPhone (0)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213696)

Why is it robbery? This is a platform that didn't exist that long ago. Any sale is one more sale than they would have had otherwise. Publishers can still do subscriptions outside of the app. It's simple, if Apple takes 30%, then provide some incentives to customers to purchase the subscription outside the app (with special promos so it doesn't run afoul of Apple's app standards). But whatever. If Android is a way for businesses to make more money, they'll focus on that.

I think the bigger issue here is Apple is actually trying to protect subscriber's privacy, or at least provide easy options to do this. Content providers thrive off of this info (which is why most of us get a bunch of junk mail).

Re:The Future Niche Market of the iPhone (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213796)

If Apple is taking a 30% cut of all subscription fees from subscriptions sold in the app store and the publisher must sell subscriptions in the app store for the same or less than what they sell them for outside of the app store, the publisher will be unable to sell the subscriptions as low as their competitor on Android. For you Apple fandois, this means that subscriptions delivered on Apple products have at least a 30% premium.
On the other hand this move will accelerate the Android becoming the dominant mobile platform.

Re:The Future Niche Market of the iPhone (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213822)

It probably isn't robbery, but locking the devices to the app store and then charging for presence in the app store is very much rent seeking behavior.

At a minimum, it is obnoxious. At least in my ridiculous opinion, I'd rather Apple try to make money selling the platform, not by controlling it.

Re:The Future Niche Market of the iPhone (0)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213862)

Why is it robbery? Well, if Dell or HP were pulling the same thing with their computers, what would you say?

Re:The Future Niche Market of the iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35214460)

Selling bread from your family store in Queens should not need "protection" money either. But hey, your still selling bread right? Listening to people justify what Apple is doing as if it was good for consumers is hilarious. People claim the government gives big business benefits that hurt consumers but yet the Apple lovers do exactly the same and don't even get the PAC money or a reach around. Go Apple go! We love you and feel connected to you, a win for you is a win for us!

Re:The Future Niche Market of the iPhone (1)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213750)

This is another example of a slow series of changes over there. Is it time to regard Apple with contempt? Do they still "know what they are doing?" How much confidence has been lost over the last few quarters?

Especially when you consider their plans for cloud computing and recent developments with their iOS restrictions and deployment of the App Store on X, It's hard to not see Apple's actions here as pushing toward that centralized, controlled future they chuckled at in that famous commercial of theirs.

Re:The Future Niche Market of the iPhone (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214214)

If I were a mobile app developer I'd be asking myself right now if it's a smart idea to try to plan a viable business plan around iOS right now. [...] Apple and Blackberry will remain as niche players but it's going to be an Android future.

I had an adroid as well as an iphone. I never bought any apps for the android. I've purchased more than 20 apps for the iphone.

I'm a typical consumer in this sense, since the iphone appstore sells considerably more than google's app store...

Android certainly sells more phones than Apple, but they don't sell more apps.

Re:The Future Niche Market of the iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35214390)

If I were a mobile app developer I'd be asking myself right now if it's a smart idea to try to plan a viable business plan around iOS right now. [...] Apple and Blackberry will remain as niche players but it's going to be an Android future.

I had an adroid as well as an iphone. I never bought any apps for the android. I've purchased more than 20 apps for the iphone.

I'm a typical consumer in this sense, since the iphone appstore sells considerably more than google's app store...

Android certainly sells more phones than Apple, but they don't sell more apps.

Based on your post, I assume you use the iPhone as your mobile handset and your Android is secondary in that regard. If I was you I would do the same.

I tend to buy things for the device I use the most, not vise-verse.

Re:The Future Niche Market of the iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35214298)

Now that the other players know Apple's strategy in this space, they can make theirs and attract the same content/partners by lowering or not having, tariffs. Android's business model is sure to take the market, and thus drive the trends and app/content adoption. If the rumours of BB using Dalvik are true, they cash in on the Droid goodies too.

CRAZY high (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213624)

Most magazine distributors only charge 7 cents per copy (about 2%), and that's for dead trees. It should be a LOT cheaper for electronic editions, or at least the same price, not a higher amount.

Bad icon choice (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35213644)

The Icon looks too much like the Icon for Anonymous.

Shouldn't it be an apple or something instead of Anon with a blue tie?

More info (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35213648)

For an already thriving comment tree on this same topic (350+) see http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2011/02/apples-in-app-subscriptions-if-we-bring-in-subscribers-we-deserve-a-cut.ars?comments=1#comments-bar

Most of the arguments/counter arguments people are going to make are already covered there. Basically it's the third stipulation (requiring "same - or better - offer") that is highly questionable.

30% forever? (4, Insightful)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213652)

Is that 30% for as long as they keep renewing or is it 30% for the initial term? How does one determine if it's a new subscriber?

Also, charging the same price in and out of the apple verse could increase prices for all

Re:30% forever? (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213786)

Also, charging the same price in and out of the apple verse could increase prices for all

I think that's the point; it makes publishers consider the Apple tax as a business expense so they start accepting it as necessary.

Re:30% forever? (1)

microbee (682094) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213812)

Renewal goes through Apple too since Apple owns your information.

I wonder how Amazon and Netflix would go about this.

Re:30% forever? (1)

milkmage (795746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213912)

yes. you know.. every time I want to re-up for a magazine or whatever, I have to pay (again).. don't see why anything would change here.

Apple has gone too far.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35213744)

They are taking a page from the bankers..

A one time commission for making a sale, doing some marketing, etc is fine. Normal business practice. Scooping a portion of the revenue stream *forever* is never done unless the scooper has way too much power.

You notice Apple is taking no risk if the magazine fails? They have no downside and unlimited upside. Sound familiar?

As you sow, so shall you reap... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213746)

Was anybody seriously expecting the app store not to degenerate into blatant rent seeking?

The original deal, while compulsory(which is not a good sign) was a 30/70, where apple took 30 in exchange for hosting the thing, transaction handling, etc. The fact that that was the only deal in town was a bit skeezy; but it was certainly a boon for the indies who couldn't or didn't want to deal with logistics themselves.

At this point, though, it's a pure money grab. Hey, Amazon, want to offer customers the ability to purchase ebooks(downloaded from your server, linked to their amazon accounts, through the kindle application)? 30% of that is ours, and you aren't allowed to charge a higher price in-app to make up for that. You don't like that? Well, it's a nice app you've got there. It'd be a pity if it were to suffer a cryptographic revocation accident, Capiche?

Re:As you sow, so shall you reap... (4, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213890)

This is the part that sucks. Their dickery doesn't bother me that much when only affects the garden-dwellers, but this has the potential to raise prices across the board. Part of the blame for that will go to publishers who will not let Apple eat 30% of their profits, but Apple is the root cause.

Re:As you sow, so shall you reap... (1)

milkmage (795746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213934)

blantant rent seeking?

if you were to sell something on consignment, you'd have to pay the store a cut of the selling price.
whats the difference here?

Re:As you sow, so shall you reap... (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213980)

The fact I can't charge less for it somewhere else? While not quite a monopoly, they're abusing their market position.

Re:As you sow, so shall you reap... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35213998)

blantant rent seeking?

if you were to sell something on consignment, you'd have to pay the store a cut of the selling price.
whats the difference here?

The difference is that the store doesn't demand that you raise your price everywhere by 30% in order to have the privilege of marketing your product there.

Re:As you sow, so shall you reap... (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214010)

Which is why I explicitly drew the contrast between the original "We host, we handle billing, we manage the storefront: 30%", which was skeezy because of its compulsoriness(no sideloading or competing stores allowed); but was a reasonably square deal, particularly for indies, and the "You Must give us 30% of the take from your own storefront if that storefront interacts in any way with one of the apps that we deign to tolerate" model...

The former case is definitely command and control; no alternatives, cryptographically enforced fiat; but it was a deal: Apple provided hosting, billing, and storefront management in exchange for 30%.

The latter case is pure rent-seeking: Even if you operate your own hosting, storefront, billing, etc.(as Amazon, say, does) it will no longer be allowed to let them access a web page and make a purchase. You will be required to offer it as an in-app purchase(30% cut to Apple) for the same price that you would offer it outside. That, is pure rent seeking. Perhaps your ISP should get a percentage of the online shopping you do? Heck, why doesn't Fedex get a cut of the value of the goods they ship?

Pay to play in the garden with millions of users (3, Interesting)

kherr (602366) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213976)

Whether or not to play in Apple's iOS garden is a business decision companies like Amazon or B&N will have to make. There's no reason for them to offer iOS versions of the e-readers. Oh, except for the large customer base. If that customer base is big enough I'm sure Amazon and B&N and others will agree to Apple's rules. 70% revenue for a customer pool of millions of iPhone and iPad users is better than 100% revenue for zero of them.

Apple is offering others the ability to take advantage of their platform. How many Nook books can you buy from B&N on the Kindle, or Apple iBooks on the Nook? None. Apple is creating a place where Amazon and B&N will be able to compete with iBooks on price using the same e-reader. Neither Amazon nor B&N open their gardens to competitors.

Re:Pay to play in the garden with millions of user (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214014)

And this why Android will eventually displace IOS as the mobile operating system of choice, those vendors who choose to sell only for Android will be at least 30% less expensive.

Re:Pay to play in the garden with millions of user (1)

2short (466733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214322)

"Neither Amazon nor B&N open their gardens to competitors."

But Android does, and Windows does. Yes, Apple is not the only company with a more locked down, rent-seeking model than fracking Microsoft, but I'm not sure why I'm supposed to like it any better rather than just hating them too.

When I pay money for products or services, I want to be treated like I'm the customer, not like I'm the product to be captured and used as leverage. If Apple is deriving profit by withholding access to me from people I'd like to do business with, why am I paying them to do it?

Re:As you sow, so shall you reap... (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213992)

what probably happened is that too many apps became free and paid for by admob/iAD to the developer. the original prices on the app store were pretty high and fell pretty fast

Goodbye Netflix App? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35213766)

The issue here is that Apple is demanding the option for users to purchase content directly through the app. Currently, most publishers have been handling payment through their own online payment service. Apple would still be letting people pay through those services, but would also force app developers to give the option to pay through Apple's payment service. If you don't want to support Apple's new subscription service, your app gets rejected.

So how long until the Netflix app gets rejected? I can't imagine Netflix would allow Apple to keep a 30% cut of their revenues. Same for Kindle. While Kindle doesn't use subscriptions, this same policy will force them to allow in-app purchases, which Amazon would lose money on. There should be major backlash on this.

Re:Goodbye Netflix App? (3, Informative)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213852)

Don't forget, Apple only requires that there be an option there, and that if the subscriber exists when they get the app, Apple doesn't expect a cut. I signed up for Netflix first and then downloaded the app much later. Under the terms as described, Apple won't get a cent of my subscription fee.

Re:Goodbye Netflix App? (1)

milkmage (795746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214336)

Kindle does offer subscriptions. You can get the NYT delivered daily for $20/month... magazines and other papers have a similar pricing model

only Amazon knows the numbers, but how many kindle titles are they selling to people that DON'T have kindle hardware... seems 70% is better than ZERO. There must be a pretty good market, else Amazon wouldn't have built apps for just about every platform in existence.

Steve Jobs is obviously Catholic (1)

Saishuuheiki (1657565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35213972)

After all, he only asks that you donate 30% of your income.

This tithe is now mandatory however, and rather than costing your soul for refusal, it will only cost you your market presence.

Re:Steve Jobs is obviously Catholic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35214178)

To tithe means to give 10%, not just give money.

If Apple serves content, great (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214000)

I subscribe to about three magazines on the iPad. The big problem I have is that that downloads do not happen in the background, and downloads are very slow. If Apple serves the content, and as a result the speed increases and download can happen in the background, this will be a good thing. Right now publishers servers are pretty useless. If Apple serves content, it should be worth the price to publishers. If publishers have to serve content, then i agree that Apple is charges excessive amounts.

Even so, one issue that annoys me will still remain. On the iPad ATT plan, we are paying twice for content when downloaded through ATT. We pay for the content, and we pay ATT for the download. To be truly mobile, and fair, we should not have to pay for content downloaded from Apple. If this were the case, the 250 MB plan would be a great deal instead of a annoying necessity.

Re:If Apple serves content, great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35214498)

I doubt you're going to find many magazines that support push on the iPhone/iPod so you can store local copies of it beforehand. I may be wrong, but I don't think that's going to happen. I strongly suspect the app will merely be a gateway to publisher-hosted content, and I don't think many third-party apps are allowed to pull data in the background. Hell, I can't even get my iPod to do that with the built-in email app.

And, of course, you aren't going to find Apple offering free bandwidth in return for their 30% cut. Download it over WiFi, or be prepared for your 250MB to be gobbled up by the first couple of image-heavy magazines each month.

Use a nice captcha to discourage in-app orders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35214026)

One could make the in-app ordering so much harder:

Please type this captcha with your tiny on screen keyboard to prevent wrong orders:
"l am a human! N0 or YEs.Donottypespaces or 2? Live or memorex? O or 0? 1 or I? areu? L am not.!lIlIllIIllIIIllIllIIlIlIlllIIIIIiIIlliIiL!"
[.......] - tiny entry field

Or click _this_link_ to order through our website!

Charitable donations? Pay up. (1)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214034)

Apple takes a 30% cut of charitable donations made through an app. Disaster relief, feed the hungry, all of it. Everybody pays. In an era where credit card processors are getting hit by regulators (correctly!) for charging 2-4% transaction fees, Apple says it's 30% or nothing.

You'd think the phones were free.

I welcome the mass exodus of developers from iOS to alternative platforms, and then I welcome the later transition to HTML5 instead of "apps" to deliver what should have been web pages anyway.

Reference: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/09/technology/09charity.html?_r=1 [nytimes.com]

Re:Charitable donations? Pay up. (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214490)

Except.. the web sucks. It is a shitty application platform, only popular because it's an easy _distribution_ platform and is mostly platform agnostic. Smartphones already have a distribution model, so that's right out as a reason to use HTML. So it comes down to the work required to write your app for different platforms.

If the app writer spends the time to write a nice version of the app specific to each platform, he will have a massive quality edge over the lazy fuck who just wrote it in HTML5.

30% good for cheap service... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35214150)

For something that's fairly cheap, 30% is a good deal to avoid all the credit card processing fees (paypal charges $.30 + 2%-3%, so it's over 30% for something that costs $1). For larger more expensive purchases, it's not such a great deal.

it's nice to see that... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35214268)

After all these years, Apple is still as capable of cutting its own throat like it was in the 80s. Oh the nostalgia.

How do you arbitrage this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35214448)

A high price in one market and a low price in another is an arbitrage setup, right?

So. Start a site where people can subscribe to stuff that's in these apps; but just make sure you advertise it so as to not offend the Lord and Master from Cupertino. Charge a much lower fee. The rest is pure profit.

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