Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Developer Blames Apple For Ruining eBook Business

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the start-pointing-fingers dept.

Books 660

An anonymous reader writes "A bookseller and app developer has blamed Apple for writing its final chapter, claiming the iPad maker had pushed it out of business. 'Apple has made it completely impossible for anyone but Apple to make a profit selling contemporary ebooks on any iOS device,' BeamItDown said. 'We bet everything on Apple and iOS and then Apple killed us by changing the rules in the middle of the game.' The company blamed Apple's decision to impose a 30% commission on books sold through apps for the unhappy ending."

cancel ×

660 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Business 101 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094008)

Well, that's why you don't put all of your apples in one basket (pun intended).

Re:Business 101 (2, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094086)

Smells like capitalism to me.
Your business failed.
C'est la vie.

Re:Business 101 (5, Insightful)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094286)

The lesson here it that Apple has become the Wal-Mart of software and services. The application and content developers who make money via Apple's presence do so only to the extent that it generates as much revenue for Apple as Apple desires. If your business model can't withstand Apple's requirements, your business will fail.

In other words, betting your business on Apple make a lot of sense, if you're Apple. Anyone else, maybe not so much.

Re:Business 101 (1, Insightful)

camcorder (759720) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094394)

And you smell like a coding monkey to me. It's not easy to say 'it's life' when your business bankrupt if you're a capitalist. Pawns of capitalism (ie. workers) mostly have no idea how hard is to run a business, that's why regardless where they work, they always complain about their bosses and working environment.

Re:Business 101 (4, Insightful)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094408)

Smells like capitalism to me. Your business failed. C'est la vie.

Their business didn't fail. They weren't even simply priced out of the market. It was a combination of pricing and fees. Yet the fees affect only non-Apple apps, giving Apple one heck of an advantage.
Apple can price lower and still profit, while non Apple companies can't compete at the same price because of the %30 fee that Apple demands. With Apple able to data-mine all the statistics and money that flow through the iOS and Apple's servers, they're REALLY got an advantage that no other company would have. I would suspect a lawsuit will eventually come out of this (not this particular company), but it probably wouldn't go far.

Re:Business 101 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094534)

C'est la vie.

Come on what do the French know about Capitalism. They don't even have a word for entrepreneur.

Re:Business 101 (1, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094542)

Smells like capitalism to me.
Your business failed.
C'est la vie.

I can't help wondering if you (and others) would be singing a different tune if this was Microsoft or Comcast. Remember how they shut-out AOL? Netscape? Or more recently: Skype on Linux?* Or 150GB datacaps to shutout Netflix, Hulu, etc?

*
* hasn't happened yet, but it's easy to hypothesize the possibility

Link to their blog post (4, Insightful)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094172)

https://www.iflowreader.com/Closing.aspx [iflowreader.com]

iFlow says that five of them spent nearly a year and a half of our lives and over a million dollars in cash and sweat equity developing the iFlowReader app with its unique AutoScrolling approach but all of it now has gone to waste. "We put our faith in Apple and they screwed us. This happened even though we went to great lengths to clear our plans with Apple because we did not want to make this substantial investment of time and money blindly. Apple's response to our detailed inquiries was to tell us that our plans did not infringe their rules in any way, which was true at the time, but there is one little catch. Apple can change the rules at any time and they did. Sadly they must have known full well that they were going to do this. Apple's iBooks was already in development when we talked to them and they certainly must have known that their future plans would doom us to failure no matter how good our product was. We never really had a chance."

Re:Link to their blog post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094400)

So this "unique AutoScrolling approach" is totally impossible to adapt to other platforms? It should be relatively easy for them to release an android or windows phone version.

Re:Link to their blog post (2)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094540)

Although I don't doubt that Apple's terms of service did screw them, I have severe doubts about the business acumen of a team that spends 18 months and a million dollars on what looks to be, at best, a mildly innovative eBook reader. Unless I've missed something big, it looks more like "three students, a case of mountain dew and a few all-nighters" territory to me, albeit a fairly well polished example.

Re:Business 101 (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094484)

Shouldn't that be, "Don't put all your business in one apple."

Play with fire... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094012)

Get burnt.

Nothing to see here.

say no more (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094014)

"We bet everything on Apple and iOS and then Apple killed us by changing the rules in the middle of the game.â

I think I see your problem right there...

Re:say no more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094218)

When you go for broke you usually succeed.

Re:say no more (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094436)

Yup, pretty much. There's on important rule in business that most people learn very quickly: Don't compete with your supplier, don't compete with your channel. If you build your entire business around iOS, then you are selling software via a channel that is controlled entirely by a company that sells software. If they want to compete with you, they can easily shut you down.

Microsoft doesn't have control over the channel to the same extent, but they can easily bundle their version with Windows and push you out of business, although doing so would probably be an antitrust violation, so you might be able to sell your company to someone with the resources to take them to court and win a few million in ten years time.

Not the first bait-and-switch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094016)

and it won't be the last.

"Who Moved My Cheese?" (1, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094018)

Dear Developer: Get it, read it. Stop being Hem and start being Haw. Apple is a company, not your mom.

Re:"Who Moved My Cheese?" (4, Insightful)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094190)

Oh dear God. My last boss wasted a day of our lives and a wodge of money paying some muppet to teach us that pseudo-psycho babble. Even worse than that bloody fish thing from a few years earlier (because after all, creating great software is just like trying to sell fish isn't it?).

Re:"Who Moved My Cheese?" (0)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094348)

Some people already 'get it', sure, so it's a waste of their time... But surprisingly few. I happen to work in a large corporation and I can promise you that Hem is everywhere. And sadly, this 3rd-grade-level story is about as complex as they are capable of understanding without getting all glassy-eyed...

Re:"Who Moved My Cheese?" (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094450)


Sounds like Landmark Forum cult-crap.

Re:"Who Moved My Cheese?" (2)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094208)

Apple is your mom when they tell you how to develop an application, distribute it and how much you can charge for it (oh and btw - it will cost more than Apple's offerings because you have to give 30% to them) plus how much you can charge for content on it (again - another 30%).

If they change the rules - your out of the house.

Apple is worse than your mother - Apple is like some sort of crime lord.

Re:"Who Moved My Cheese?" (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094418)

Really, with the crime lord statement? They aren't forcing you to play with them. They aren't coming into your dev studio and warning you about "dangers" in the marketplace and if you'd only be willing to pay them for "protection"... They have every right to shoot themselves in the foot by pissing of developers, as they are apparently doing here. Let 'em.

Re:"Who Moved My Cheese?" (2)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094238)

$17 via iBooks? Yeah right!

Re:"Who Moved My Cheese?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094426)

Let's say you had a credit card and the company decided that despite you paying the bills to charge you the default rate and slap on a $2 million dollar fee for paying the bill on time. The change would put you immediately into debt.

Who Moved My Cheese is meant to encourage individual contributors in a big corporate to adjust to outsourcing. Real companies have legal remedies to their problems.

Re:"Who Moved My Cheese?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094496)

Are you fucking kidding? Really? The book is about being flexible in the face of adverse change. This is a company dictating terms to it's developers such that flexibility isn't an option, then changing the rules again so that they arrive at a trapped dead end.

Two dead mice. One flexible, the other not, but both dead.

This just in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094026)

Old man yells at clouds.

Darth Jobs sez (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094028)

"I have altered the deal. Pray I do not alter it further."

Next time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094040)

Next time: don't put all your apples in the same basket.

What are the phone alternatives? (1, Interesting)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094048)

Apple is raping developers and Google is raping your privacy. Never thought I'd consider moving back to Windows Mobile :(

Re:What are the phone alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094152)

So that Microsoft can do both at the same time?

Re:What are the phone alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094168)

...which fucks everyone in equal measure. Wonderful

Re:What are the phone alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094252)

Apple is raping developers and Google is raping your privacy. Never thought I'd consider moving back to Windows Mobile :(

So going by the charming theme of your word choice, you're going to settle for offering pity sex?

Re:What are the phone alternatives? (1)

Dracos (107777) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094304)

I bet there are some developers now (and more in the future) who would oblige Jobs with an anger bang.

And today's Darwin award goes to .. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094438)

FIrstly, the money that Apple charges.
There's 99 USD a year to be part of the program, & 30% of the money made from sales of the app. You still get to keep 70% of the money that your media is worth. On Windows I used to get to keep 10% of what I charged for my software, and used to reach about 20,000 people max for the amount of money that we are talking about. On IOS I potentially reach a few million folks - and the kind of folks who will actually spend money on software rather than thinking they can download whatever they want off the Internet.
In return for the money Apple charges I get:
- very nice documentation, about 24 hours worth of training videos, pre-release code and whole set of forums to discuss stuff with.
- an eco-system my apps that is guaranteed to be around for some time
- a business model that ensures that the platform is always in the news
As I see it, they've saved me several hundreds of thousand dollars by avoiding having to build my own distribution mechanism. I only need to worry about my own publicity and standing out against my immediate competition. The IOS device family is "low hanging fruit" for independent developers - it allows us to earn a small stream of money comparable to the investment that I put into it. Do I feel raped? definitely not. This is easy money, not something I am going to build my future Fortune 500 company on.
In 5 years time the iOS platform in it's current form is going to be obsolete; along with a lot of the media that is on it. But I am still going to need to eat in 5 years time. So - am I going to bet my entire life on it? I would have to be insane or at least terminally myopic to do that.
If you find your entire business wiped out because Apple sneezed, don't blame Apple. Just weed yourself out of the Gene pool, please.

Re:And today's Darwin award goes to .. (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094508)

I think you missed the point that the publishers get 30%, and now apple gets another 30%. With costs and salaries, it's not unthinkable that 40% isn't enough to make a profit.

Re:What are the phone alternatives? (0)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094458)

Apple is raping developers and Google is raping your privacy. Never thought I'd consider moving back to Windows Mobile :(

You think Apple isn't raping your privacy? Why do you think they locked down reporting user data in the iOS? It certainly wasn't to protect user data, it was so Apple can charge for that information.

Uhoh... (1)

bromodrosis (639957) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094058)

Apple will be pissed to find out that I buy ebooks through Amazon on both my Android phone and my iPad.

Re:Uhoh... (2)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094230)

That iPad thing may change soon, when the new rules come into effect in June/July, the Kindle app will no longer be allowed to link to the Kindle store for purchases.

Re:Uhoh... (2)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094352)

Remains to be seen. Many think the Kindle app may somehow end up with an exclusion from the rule.

Your poor business decisions are not Apple's fault (4, Insightful)

Myrrh (53301) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094062)

Putting all your eggs in one basket is a poor business decision, and now you are reaping the rewards of that decision. Apple is not solely to blame here.

Re:Your poor business decisions are not Apple's fa (5, Insightful)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094162)

True, but would you really expect Apple to explicitly say "you are not allow to make any profit selling books on our platform"? From TFA:

* You must sell books from major publishers at the same price as Apple does.
* Those publishers must give you exactly 30% commission.
* iOS booksellers have to give 30% of their revenue to Apple.

Hence enforced 0% profit margin. I don't think you can blame them for thinking that Apple would never go quite *that* far. Of course they should have diversified to Android *anyway*...

Re:Your poor business decisions are not Apple's fa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094222)

* You must sell books from major publishers at the same price as Apple does.

Are you sure? I thought they stated that you had to have your in-app price be the same as your out-of-app price. That's not the same as having to match Apple's pricing.

Re:Your poor business decisions are not Apple's fa (2)

Albanach (527650) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094392)

I believe major publishers have pricing agreements, fixing a minimum price for their books.

This is why some major titles are more expensive as an ebook than in paper format despite paper being obviously more expensive. I found this with a couple of minutes searching Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Devil-Wears-Prada-ebook/dp/B000FBFNBK/ [amazon.com]

$10.19 in paperback, $11.99 if you want the Kindle edition.

With publishers removing any opportunity to discount, it becomes nearly impossible to compete - especially if you have to give 30% of any sale to your competitor.

Re:Your poor business decisions are not Apple's fa (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094482)

I don't think you can blame them for thinking that Apple would never go quite *that* far.

Uh, this is Apple we're talking about. Anyone who didn't think they'd go that far can't be paying too much attention

Re:Your poor business decisions are not Apple's fa (2, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094554)

You must sell books from major publishers at the same price as Apple does.

Which is entirely wrong.

You can't see books cheaper than Apple does, you can certainly charge MORE. This is a rather common thing in retail.

You are required to sell in app if you sell online and allow that to be downloaded too the app.

If you sell books on your own website (that you can get on your iOS device as well), then you have to charge the same price (or more) than it costs to get them on the iOS device. Basically you can't charge $200 for a book on the device, and $20 on your website as a way to skirt around Apple requiring you to sell them in the app.

Those publishers must give you exactly 30% commission.

Apple does not say that anywhere, nor do they have ANY control over who much you pay to license content from others. This is just bellyaching and lies.

iOS booksellers have to give 30% of their revenue to Apple.

Yea, and if you have even the slightest clue about the retail world, you'll know that when you put your shit in someones store, they take a cut. 30% is pretty much THE standard amount. In big box retail, there are times when you end up paying more to be in the store, per item, than your item costs total. Its not just a loss to be in the store, you're actually loosing more than just the cost of your item!

There is no enforced 0% profit margin, though I'll admit, why would you buy from someone other than the iBookstore if the iBookstore is the cheapest, but thats just business. Don't like it? Sell on someone elses device or make your own. Ever heard of Windows Mobile, Android, or BlackBerry?

Re:Your poor business decisions are not Apple's fa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094338)

Pricing yourself at a razor-thin margin expecting the third party distribution channel you're piggy backing on to remain free in perpetuity is also a bad business decision. If their margins were so thin that 30% kills them, they were doomed to fail regardless.*

* = a comfortable margin does not equate to gauging the customer, there's a fine line between covering your ass and screwing people, nobody wins a race to the bottom.

Re:Your poor business decisions are not Apple's fa (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094520)

30% kills them because they were already getting charged 30% by the publishers. RTFA.

Re:Your poor business decisions are not Apple's fa (5, Insightful)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094462)

No one thinks its a bad for a start up company with limited resources to put all its eggs in the Microsoft Windows basket.

Apple has the 80%+ market share with tablets. They have no choice but to rely on Apple for them to remain profitable. Other platforms aren't bringing in enough revenue at the moment to justify the investment.

Re:Your poor business decisions are not Apple's fa (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094524)

No one thinks its a bad for a start up company with limited resources to put all its eggs in the Microsoft Windows basket.

Microsoft can't demand you pay them 30% of your revenue if you want to sell stuff on Windows. They might buy you out or give away a competing product, but everyone who develops for Windows knows that.

"We bet everything on Apple and iOS" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094066)

"We bet everything on Apple and iOS"

Well, silly you.

Apple did this with PPC as well (3, Informative)

dammy (131759) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094070)

Apple went out begging third party hardware developers to build to CHiRP (PReP) machines so it would run Mac OS8 and then reversed course denying them Mac OS-9 license. Some things never change with Apple. My first computer was an Apple ][+, I doubt I will ever own anything Apple related again.

Re:Apple did this with PPC as well (2)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094344)

While what you state is more or less true ... they reversed the decision because new management came in and said 'holy fucking shit batman, if we keep this up we're going to be bankrupt in a year! This has to stop!' ... said management then proceeded to turn the company from a massive looser into a market dominating force.

Had they not changed their minds on that particular event, Apple wouldn't exist, which would have resulted in the EXACT SAME THING for those people making hardware to run System 8.

Sometimes you sacrifice a few people so that you don't kill everyone.

too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094074)

so sad

Life isn't fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094084)

Some businesses succeed while others fail. Don't think you're so special.

Then change your pricing structure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094094)

Then change your pricing structure, QED.

Re:Then change your pricing structure (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094144)

Then change your pricing structure, QED.

I believe Apple gives 70% royalties to anyone selling ebooks through their service. So if anyone selling ebooks through apps has to pay 30% to Apple, there's no way they can compete unless they can get writers to accept lower royalties than they would get by selling direct through Apple.

Which is possible: trade publishers have been giving 15% royalties to writers while collecting 70% from Amazon, but they need to provide something that makes writers think that giving away lots of money is worthwhile (trade publishers will at least do some marketing, editing, etc).

Re:Then change your pricing structure (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094200)

They can't raise prices to compensate, Apple will then demand 30% of the new price as will the publishers.

Re:Then change your pricing structure (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094478)

They can just stop selling in-app. Make people buy through the web site, the kindle/nook devices, and desktop apps only. They can keep their higher commission, and people are only inconvenienced for a while. They can still set it up so you can browse books in-app - just link them to the web site to complete the purchase. What's so hard about this? The books still sync to the app when purchased outside the app now.

Waaahhh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094102)

What are we, 5 years old? Don't blame Apple for the failure of your business. Don't like the iBookstore rules? Publish your eBooks on Android instead. Or publish on your own & other web sites in PDF or ePub formats. There are tons of alternatives.

Re:Waaahhh (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094558)

What are we, 5 years old? Don't blame Apple for the failure of your business. Don't like the iBookstore rules? Publish your eBooks on Android instead. Or publish on your own & other web sites in PDF or ePub formats. There are tons of alternatives.

That argument would make sense, provided Apple didn't change the rules in the middle of the game. This company started up before these rules. They were fine under the old rules. They invested time and money under the old rules. Then Apple changes the rules, effectively making Apple the only company capable of turning a profit on ebooks.

Absolutely blame Apple.

Spinal Tap (5, Funny)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094142)

His eBook goes to (Chapter) 11?

Should blame both Apple and the publishers (1, Insightful)

david.emery (127135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094154)

So their contracts with the publishers -and- the Apple cut didn't work. The Apple cut has been pretty well known. Seems to me that the contracts with the publishers are equally to blame here. After all, it costs a publisher NOTHING to release a digital version (there's no printing or physical distribution costs). The publisher should cut the digital distributor a substantial discount for that.

Re:Should blame both Apple and the publishers (2)

Serenissima (1210562) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094340)

Actually, even before eBooks, it cost so little to print a book that it was hardly an issue of cost. It costs pennies to print a book. The price you pay for books, even now, goes to other things (cover artist, author, publisher, marketers, etc). Going digital really doesn't save publishers any significant amount of money.

Re:Should blame both Apple and the publishers (2)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094378)

The Apple cut has been pretty well known

No, the Apple cut was initially only for Apps, not for purchases within Apps before Apple changed the rules in February.

The answer is obvious (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094158)

Just raise your prices to compensate, and quit your bellyaching..

Re:The answer is obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094276)

Poor math skills troll has poor math skills.

Ask your mommy to come down into the basement and teach you about percentages.

Re:The answer is obvious (3, Informative)

JimMcc (31079) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094292)

I probably shouldn't respond to somebody who's handle is 'countertrolling', but...

If you've read any of the information on this subject, you'd know that the contract with Apple requires that you price eBooks the same as what Apple sells them for. So raising the price is not an option.

Re:The answer is obvious (0)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094372)

Then the alternative is just as obvious... so obvious in fact, I won't even bother to mention it

Re:The answer is obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094320)

They can't. Due to the Agency Sales Model (created by Apple) requires that all eBook sales agents sell their books at the same price, set by the publishers. TFA linked here doesn't mention this, but the email sent out by the company does (replicated here: http://www.teleread.com/paul-biba/a-sad-tale-iflow-reader-shutting-down-they-say-apple-killed-them-how-to-preserve-your-books/). The publishers give the sales agents 30% of that fixed price. At the same time, Apple requires the app operators pay them 30% of the sale price of anything sold through the app. So eBook sellers on iOS are stuck between a fixed price rock set by the publishers and a high fee hard place set by Apple that means they cannot make a profit.

Re:The answer is obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094330)

Just raise your prices to compensate, and quit your bellyaching..

They can't. Apple got all of the publishers to agree to the Agency Model (as an attack on Amazon). This means the publishers are the seller, not Apple, not these people, not Amazon. The publishers set the price. The publishers force everyone to sell at the same price. They allow a 30% profit to their "agents". Apple now says anyone selling on the iOS owes them 30%. You do the math. Can't raise the price. Only get 30% for each sale, must give Apple 30%.

To play in a walled garden... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094166)

...you must pay the gatekeeper.

My sympathy is limited. What the hell did they expect?

Your business plan is not my problem (4, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094170)

"We bet everything on Apple and iOS and then Apple killed us by changing the rules in the middle of the game."

Sounds like they ruined their own business by making bad decisions. If Apple is being short-sighted by killing off the providers of content users put on Apple devices, then those providers are just as short-sighted by assuming Apple would be considerate of their interests.

Oh wait, this isn't from a content originator, this isn't the authors guild, this is another middle man.

I have some buggy whip makers who want to talk with you.

Re:Your business plan is not my problem (3, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094280)

I have some buggy whip makers who want to talk with you.

Get with the times, We call them Adult Novelty & BDSM suppliers now.

Re:Your business plan is not my problem (1)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094384)

Oh wait, this isn't from a content originator, this isn't the authors guild, this is another middle man.

I have some buggy whip makers who want to talk with you.

I think you're losing something in your analogy. Perhaps what you meant in this case is that you have some buggy whip resellers who want to talk with them?

Stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094184)

"We bet everything on Apple and iOS "

              That was really stupid bet! Not one I would take.

Contracts (2)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094202)

So you get around things like this by signing contracts and service level agreements. If you don't have one of those or, more likely when dealing with Apple, you can't get one of those, then you probably shouldn't bother using their service, or at least be prepared when those goalposts move. Eggs in multiple baskets, the smallest fraction of those eggs in Apple, etc.

Get a lawyer, get it signed. This is business.

ebook gold rush (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094210)

But...according to the Washington Post, there is an "e-book gold rush" going on right now.

"Joe Konrath, a 41-year-old thriller and horror writer out of Chicago, started self-publishing his books online at cut-rate prices in the spring of 2009. That April, he made $700. In April 2010, he made about $4,000. A screen shot of his Kindle account for a period ending in late April of this year showed him netting $78,231.16 in six weeks."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/novel-rejected-theres-an-e-book-gold-rush/2011/04/09/AFZdqb9F_story.html

Re:ebook gold rush (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094268)

But...according to the Washington Post, there is an "e-book gold rush" going on right now.

Which is why a distributor like Apple wouldn't want apps to be able to compete with them by offering higher royalties. If a company offers writers 80% royalties selling through their app while Apple only offers 70% selling through their store, then writers won't be using Apple's store.

This should have been pretty obvious to anyone with any business sense.

All he is doing is issuing a warning (5, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094220)

While I do not feel bad for the guy, all he is doing is issuing a warning to other companies that are considering doing business with Apple or on IOS devices. This particular business made a bad decision that a little bit of observation of past behavior would have told them would end in tears. However, the point he is making is that Apple encouraged them to develop this market and business strategy, while Apple was already planning to cut the supports out from under it if the business was successful. Apple basically encouraged another business to take the risk of developing a market that Apple intended to steal if it worked out.

This article makes me laugh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094226)

At stupid developers like this guy and anti-apple people. You all think your microsoft is here to save you again. Like that dork who posted going back to Windows mobile. GO !!! Do not let the door hit you in the A$$.

Facts are Apple is the best and you micro-cronies cannot get how ( gee )

LOL you all make me laugh so hard. Cry some more please it enjoy it.

Re:This article makes me laugh (0)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094464)

Yawn. Seriously? You can't troll better than that? I'm severely disappointed.

Nobody but Apple? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094234)

Really? Amazon is not profiting from the Kindle business or does not expect to be profitable in future? That is probably why they keep expanding it This story is stupid, and these people are just crying because THEY not ANYONE can't compete.

Re:Nobody but Apple? (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094334)

Really? Amazon is not profiting from the Kindle business or does not expect to be profitable in future? That is probably why they keep expanding it This story is stupid, and these people are just crying because THEY not ANYONE can't compete.

Huh, why not read?

Apple has made it completely impossible for anyone but Apple to make a profit selling contemporary ebooks on any iOS device

The story is not stupid, you are stupid.

Re:Nobody but Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094396)

Kindle is also on the iOS device.

Re:Nobody but Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094546)

You're not just stupid, you're fucking retarded.

You're actually going to trust what one piseed off developer has to say about profitability accross an entire market segment?

Just because you read it on the intrawebs, it MUST be true, right?

Re:Nobody but Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094368)

CRY people cry cry more more .. welcome to trolling on a troll story.!!!

If you cry enought maybe obama will listen and screw this up too.

cry damn it cry

He said it himself (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094240)

We bet everything on Apple [...]

If you didn't see this coming then you shouldn't be in business. Apple charges a premium when you buy from them, and they charge a percentage when you sell through them. If they dont take a commission it just means they're waiting for you to create a market for it before taking their cut.

You get what you deserve, as they say. (2, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094266)

Seriously, building an entire business around one iPhone/iPad app and in app sales of content that can be had anywhere? You pretty much were doomed to fail from the start before Apple changed the rules.

You are also an idiot for NOT expecting Apple to make that change. Why on Earth would Apple leave a blindingly large loophole in the system that allowed you to sell services which funnel through Apple and as such require Apple to support them (which costs money) and without you making any contribution to the system? If you thought at any point Apple was going to let you charge for in app purchases without ever taking a cut, you're an idiot. Theres no other way to state it, you're simply too stupid to run a business on that alone.

Finally, the most important thing to point out here ...

If you've made all that investment and got a bunch of software, hardware, and book licenses ... WHY ARE YOU NOT SELLING BOOKS FOR ANDROID, BLACKBERRY AND WINDOWS MOBILE/PHONE?!

Yes, caps were required, because thats the obvious thing to do, and once again, you're a complete fucking moron for not doing it.

Instead you said 'OMG WE FAILED BECAUSE OF APPLE!!!'. If you take off the word because, and everything after it, the sentence is true.

You failed, and you did it to yourself. Go back to sucking on mommies teet for safety, you don't belong in the business world, no one is going to carry your weight for you.

What margin do book publishers take? (2, Interesting)

hsmith (818216) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094300)

Now you can easily self publish any book you want. What margins do a writer make right now?

From what I gather it is at MOST 15% of the NET profits, so a $25.00 book may only make you as a writer $2 at most after all the "Costs" of selling are added up.

So, if you sell the book yourself through Apple, you get to keep 70% of your profit, doing some simple math that turns out to be $17.50.

Now who is the evil company, publishers who give you $2 on your $25 book or Apple who gives you $17.50?

The Apple Advantage (5, Insightful)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094308)

They invested significantly in Apple, had a *slightly* profitable business going. Then Apple effectively goes into "price-fixing" anything on the iOS platform, saying no-one can charge more then they do. As well, anything purchased on an iOS device will have to sacrifice %30 on the altar of Jobs. So:

1: a business starts up an app on [insert iOS device here]
2: business starts raking in profits
3: Apple notices, develops it's own app, as well as negotiating lower prices for itself.
4: Apple prices other business right out of it's market, due to %30 fee that affects everyone but Apple.
5: Profit

No ??????, it's pretty much cut and dry, and especially so now that Apple controls all the data mining from their iOS. This alone allows them to choose their battles, because they can see where the money flows. They can choose to try to take %30 of the profit, or all of it.

Re:The Apple Advantage (0)

toriver (11308) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094560)

The 30% is ONLY on purchases made through the app itself. But they cannot offer it at a lower price if you buy directly from their website or wherever else. And where do you get that "negotiating lower prices for itself" from by the way? Is this the same kind of whining Border et al directed at the cheaper books at Amazon?

And this is why (0)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094332)

Symbian(s60) was better than all others..

You never had applications revoked, a user could install whatever they wanted, and you got a fantastic combination of battery life, Audio quality and camera quality at a decent price.

You lost out on the good looking UI and gaming power though

I find it amusing. (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094382)

First all media companies hype Apple ipads and ignore everything else in their reporting, hoping to finally lock in the user and get their piece of the cake without directly telling the user how much money they want, and completely forget how Apple fucks the users, and the the very same companies suddenly discover that Apple wants a larger piece of the cake.

Yes, dear Journalists, publishers etc. If you let yourself lock in to a single platform which sometimes is incompatible by definition to the knees of a single vendor who is famous for ignoring the economic interests of the rest of the companies producing sth for the platform, something bad will happen.

There was epub available. If enough companiess would have explained to apple that thats the format they will be delivering, respectively html5, Apples would have had a problem.

Re:I find it amusing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094538)

Apple uses ePub for the e-books it sells, and there's nothing to stop you loading your own ePub or PDF documents onto your iOS device from your Mac or PC.

Re:I find it amusing. (1)

vijayiyer (728590) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094562)

iPads read ePubs, and the iBookstore format is ePub. Nothing stops people from selling ePubs to users, including iPad users on the web (e.g., look at O'Reilly). This guy locked himself in because he didn't doesn't actually have a real business - he wants to be an alternate middleman where Apple carries all of his costs.

Missing the point (4, Informative)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094386)

Every post here says some variation of "Quit whining. This is your fault for trusting Apple not to change the rules."

Which is not the point (or rather you are making the author's point for him). Apple's business practices are (and always have been) aggressively biased against third-parties. It's remarkably consistent and it's their Achilles heel.

The stark lesson is: do not develop for Apple platforms. No matter how shiny or revolutionary the hardware, and no matter how brilliant your idea, Apple will rip you off.

sounds like tortuous interference (2)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094448)

Here's what I don't get about this: Apple is telling ebook retailers that they have to buy from publishers at a fixed margin. How is the margin of a given ebook publisher any of Apple's business? Apple is basically forcing two other entities to modify or annul the contract they already had, and/or is actively preventing them from agreeing to a future contract that doesn't fit Apple's requirements. How is this not a textbook definition of tortuous interference?

It doesn't seem to be Apple's fault (4, Informative)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 3 years ago | (#36094504)

If you read the blog post, the owner explains that they repeatedly asked Apple for a validation of their business model, and that the only response they received was that their app did not violate policy. Moreover, he suggests that Apple acted in bad faith by implementing iBooks to destroy his business model, without alerting him of their intentions.

He also states that they went through considerable trouble and expense to build an application, only to give it away for free and depend on revenue from a "middle-man" business model, where they would resell e-books that publishers were already selling.

He further states that all publishers had moved to an "agent" model where they require all resellers be bound to the same price, of which they get a 30% commission, so his margins were already razor-thin.

This all strikes me as very flawed business model from the beginning. This is not an app developer, this is a re-seller--a middle-man-- that happens to give away an app in order to sell e-books from it. The fact that he developed the app is immaterial, since it was not the product that he sold.

Did they really expect Apple to have their lawyers and business executives analyse their company's business model to make sure that it would be successful? Is it really Apple's fault that they didn't see the flaw in their "middle-man" re-seller model?

If his e-book reader is such a novel and marvelous app, as he suggests in his blog post, then why doesn't he just sell the app and let it stand on its own merit? He suggests that iBooks is just gimmicky with its page-turning animations, and that his app is superior; well, then he should be able to make money out of it. His business model was broken, not his app.

            -dZ.

Cruft like this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36094518)

It's cruft like this that makes me boycott all Apple products. Yes, as a company they can skew all products that run on their platform to maximize their profits, to the detriment of others who wish to ride on their coattails, but in the long run, that is just killing the goose that laid their golden egg, IMO.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>