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Apple Eases Rules For Subscription Apps

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the reading-the-writing-on-the-wall dept.

Software 109

pjfontillas writes "Apple has quietly reversed their decision that required publishers who sell content and subscriptions in their iPhone and iPad apps to go through iTunes, with Apple taking a 30% cut. It's not so quiet in the workplace, however, as this news has a pretty big influence on developer workloads. Here at The New York Times our developers breathed a sigh of relief once we realized we don't have try and work around that requirement like The Financial Times did. Apple seems to have been doing much better with their community (consumers and developers alike) recently." Reader imamac notes that Apple has also filed a motion to intervene in the Lodsys patent suit against several iOS app developers that we've been following.

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109 comments

Surprising (1)

Wamoc (1263324) | more than 2 years ago | (#36402734)

I am pretty shocked at this. Apple seems to be big on money grabbing from everybody for everything lately.

Re:Surprising (2)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#36402774)

Financial Times announced a web application and killed their app store subscription app.

Re:Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36402912)

In other new Financial Times reader ship plummets.

Web apps suck!

Re:Surprising (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403474)

No, as the HTML 5 proponents say, HTML 5 can do everything native apps can do. Now watch me remake Crysis 2 using the untapped powers of Canvas, SVG and Javascript...

Re:Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36403682)

Shhhh, you'll wake them up!

To be fair, there's much less of these HTML[n] clowns in evidence nowadays - even around here they seem to have given up the ghost, probably just found another lost cause to latch onto.

Re:Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36405932)

No, we're just too intelligent to get caught up in your bullshit. We're busy remaking the web while you sit around wondering why everything has passed you by.

Re:Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36403716)

That's easy. Render the Crysis 2 live stream to canvas ;).

Re:Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36403822)

...and wait a few seconds for the image on your screen to update. Hang on a mo' here comes frame 2, still looking good!

Re:Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36404198)

No.

Web apps suck on that platform because they don't get the same acceleration as the browser itself does. Not my problem.

TFS (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#36405928)

"Apple seems to have been doing much better with their community (consumers and developers alike) recently."

Gee. It's almost like some over-controlling jerk in upper management must be out sick, or something.

Re:Surprising (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403226)

Here is hoping that Apple doesn't screw with its browsers to make HTML5 web apps suck.

Microphone and camera in Safari yet? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403694)

Let me know when an HTML5 web app running in Safari for iOS can prompt the user to turn on the microphone and camera. Has that feature been added yet?

Re:Surprising (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36405926)

Why would they do that? They want people to use web apps. Apple is at the forefront of HTML5.

Re:Surprising (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403378)

Apple had explicitly suggested that developers who don't like Apple's terms for apps, so I doubt if this was a major factor. But it was always clear that the rules would have to be modified, because as previously formatted, they would have required firms like Amazon, which already had an efficient system for selling content to pay a hefty price for a service that they didn't really need, and a Web Kindle app would not be and adequate substitute for the Kindle app. Forcing the Kindle app off of iOS would have caused a major backlash from consumers who bought Apple products in the expectation that they would be able tom access their substantial Kindle libraries.

Re:Surprising (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403870)

I read the actual Financial Times article about this and they stated the cost savings by going the web app route was 5x what they figured originally. The explanation is that the web app is platform independant, meaning they have only one code base to maintain instead of apps for each and every app store

Re:Surprising (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36405982)

Yes, they saved money by only making one app instead of two. They also are leaving money on the table by not giving their consumers what they want.

Re:Surprising (5, Insightful)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403084)

Yeah, look at the exorbitant fees they are charging for iCloud ($0) and for Lion ($29). It's just ridiculous.

Re:Surprising (-1, Troll)

Captain.Abrecan (1926372) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403164)

A web page that overlays existing services should cost zero, and lion is just a update to mac os 10. Not even a service patch, which historically cost the same as a whole new os from apple.

Re:Surprising (2)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#36404354)

Yes, because Win95>98 and 2000 > XP > Vista > 7 were all "updates" right? Not even "service patches".

What reality do you live in?

Re:Surprising (1)

Captain.Abrecan (1926372) | more than 2 years ago | (#36404698)

What does windows have to do with what I said? Stay focused. "Cheetah", "Puma", "Jaguar", "Panther", "Tiger", "Leopard", "Snow Leopard" & "Lion" are all the same operating system, and you have to pay for every friggin update. I am trying to say that even $30 is too expensive, when it is just an tiny update. It even looks the same as it used to. Service patches and updates are free from Microsoft, if you want to drag them into it. I never even mentioned them, and I'm pretty sure the jumps in Microsoft's OS's evolve in a wide berth, since the jump from 95 & 98 to 2000 involved going back to the NT architecture, which was changed dramatically for XP and Vista.

Re:Surprising (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 2 years ago | (#36404760)

So windows before 2000 was not just bug fixes, and afterwords is not just new clothes on the same OS? You could have fooled me.

Re:Surprising (2)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#36405510)

Yeah between those versions Apple added : iChat, Safari, FileVault, Exposé, Fast User Switching, Spotlight, Dashboard, Quicktime 7, Quicktime X, Automator, VoiceOver, Core Image, Core Video, Rosetta, Time Machine, Spaces, BootCamp, Grand Central, LauchPad, Mission Control, Quartz Composer, etc., etc. But you know, other than that you're right it's the same system.

Re:Surprising (2)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#36406420)

I'll just link to the post that already replied to you: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2228992&cid=36405510 [slashdot.org]

"What Windows has to do with it" is something called a "direct comparison".

You are saying "I am trying to say that even $30 is too expensive, when it is just an tiny update. It even looks the same as it used to." - when the "look" of Win 95 to Win 98 didn't change, for example. Not that changing the look entirely needs to happen for an OS to be considered a new version (you're seriously going with that as a legitimate reason? The 2008 and 2009 Ford Fiesta use the same body shell. This means the 2009 one should be free, right?)

While the look of OS X has remained broadly similar across the versions (ie, they have found a UI that works and don;t see the need to mess with it too much) does not mean that subsequent releases of the OS are merely "software updates". The amount of work and features that have gone into it between 10.1 and 10.6 (and now 7) just don;t bear that out.

Simply the fact that it looks the same is not a reason to say "lolz it's just a point release and should be free!"

Re:Surprising (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 2 years ago | (#36404662)

They used to charge for mobile me, it didn't work well, but people paid for it anyways. icloud does the same stuff and more.

They obviously could have charged for icloud if they wanted to, but they didn't. Keep in mind, I'm arguing against, "Apple seems to be big on money grabbing from everybody for everything lately." I'd say that lately, they are not into that.

Lion is "just an update"? airdrop, autosave, versions, resume, customizable gestures are all new.

But isn't airdrop really stupid? Yes, you could do this on any unix box, but it would probably take you about 5 minutes to setup and get working correctly. Even then, other users would have to disconnect from the wifi they were using to connect to your wifi and dl the file and then reconnect. What a pain. Why do that? But here it just works, you stay connected to your wifi and you can use my wifi ftp like service at the same time. Don't hate it because it is beautiful.

Re:Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36404872)

So basically, Microsoft's Service Packs are $29 on the other side of the fence.

Got it.

Re:Surprising (0)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403198)

Let's see if I charge a gazillion dollars for the hardware I can charge nothing for iCloud and little for Lion. But hey who did that before? Microsoft! You know the evil corporation, yet Apple is all goodness!

Re:Surprising (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#36404398)

Yeah, that's great.... if you charge a gazillion dollars for the hardware. Apart from the Mac Pro, which is overpriced, the hardware is pretty comparable with similar hardware on the "pc" side.

If you want bottom-of-the-barrel razor-thin-profit-margin junk though, like the lowest end Dell or other cheap machine, then such is life. If you want a decent machine (on either side of the OS spectrum), the prices are comparable - especially recently with increases in the GPU offerings.

Re:Surprising (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 2 years ago | (#36404700)

The claim was that apple was charging "everybody for everything." In point of fact, icloud is a thing, and when I use it, I will not be charged. The claim is wrong. QED.

Re:Surprising (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403722)

They're only charging $0 if your media is through iTunes. Any other media you may want to store on the cloud will require a $24.99 a year subscription.

Re:Surprising (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 2 years ago | (#36404680)

5 GB free, plus all purchased items. It also includes all the capabilities of mobile me which was $99/year.

Re:Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36406632)

Moblie Me was 20 GB of storage space.

Re:Surprising (1)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403790)

Apple changed its policies back because of money too. They realized that this move would damage their reputation and drive developers away from iOS.

Re:Surprising (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36405898)

I am pretty shocked at this. Apple seems to be big on money grabbing from everybody for everything lately.

Apple doesn't primarily run their Music and App stores as a profit center. They exist to add value to their main products, which are hardware.

Apple makes more profit overall about every four months than they have made in total revenue from their 30% cuts in all iTunes stores combined since they first opened. And that's before taking into considerations the costs of running, maintaining, improving, etc., their stores, as well as covering the credit card fees, and licensing patents like Amazon's One-Click patent, and Lodsys's patent (which they are now defending their developers against, for no charge).

This rule change isn't about Apple giving up money, or reversing some sort of "money grabbing" trend, it's about finding a way to keep their product appealing to their customers (the end user) while still encouraging developers to stay aboard. The old rules didn't do the job as well.

Could it be?? (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#36402738)

They're finally realizing that their restrictive practices are a little too restrictive?

Crazy talk, I know...

Re:Could it be?? (1, Flamebait)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403344)

Nah, just too fast. They'll back off, wait a few months, then ease in with the same restrictions, maybe with a couple of intermediate steps in between so that people can rationalize it to themselves better. It's the exact same way you avoid outrage while increasing gas prices, removing citizens rights, etc...

Re:Could it be?? (1)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 2 years ago | (#36405992)

No, what it is is what it has always been. They respond to what they perceive their target market wants. Internet bitching from nerds who hate them isn't really a factor in their strategy.

Re:Could it be?? (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36406108)

Right, they are "too restrictive". So restrictive, in fact, that iOS is the most popular "app-style" mobile OS. I mean, iOS is just *hurting* for users and developers!

This isn't a sign that Apple is going to change their overall policy. Their overall policy is working out fantastic for them. This just shows that Apple will do what Apple has always done when something doesn't work out, they'll change it.

The original purpose of the clause was to make In App purchasing something end users could trust in and use. The purpose of that clause has not changed, but the implementation has changed slightly due to the impact it had on developers.

It's simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36402746)

In Apples see it as those apps that use Apples in app purchase will be protected from litigation by the License they have with Lodsys. Those apps that roll their own will be open for patent infringement law suit. The choice is simple. Use Apples API or get sued out of business. The choice is theirs.

Re:It's simple (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#36402964)

Or you can get a license from Lodsys for 0.0575% of revenue and skip the lawsuit.

Re:It's simple (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403594)

....And then you can get a letter from Patent Ventures for 0.05% of your revenue to use UI buttons to actuate numerical addition in your app. And then a letter from Intellectual Troll Partners for $30 flat in order to use shake gestures to delete app objects. And then Fraunhofer can ask for 1% because you're encoding an MP3 with Apple's implementation of their codec (sure Apple licensed it, but now that they see you'll roll over, maybe they think that license doesn't apply to phones all of the sudden, and maybe they'd lose but you'd have to go to court over that)...

The precedent would basically make any kind of 3rd party development on any application platform impossible.

I am not usually a gramer Nazi, but... (3, Funny)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#36402792)

How exactly does a sentence which starts with "here at The New York Times" ends up having two grammatical mistakes in it?

Re:I am not usually a gramer Nazi, but... (4, Funny)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 2 years ago | (#36402874)

I can't decide if a grammar Nazi making a spelling mistake on the word "grammar" (as "gramer") is ironic or requires the arrival of spelling Nazis.

Re:I am not usually a gramer Nazi, but... (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403278)

I don't hold myself to as high a standard on grammar as the standard to which I hold The New York Times.

Re:I am not usually a gramer Nazi, but... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403288)

I hope it requires the arrival of more misspelling grammar Nazis, so they all can get stuck in an infinite recursion.

Re:I am not usually a gramer Nazi, but... (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403298)

And a grammar mistake to boot: "How exactly does a sentence [...] ends up having..."

Re:I am not usually a gramer Nazi, but... (1)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 2 years ago | (#36404396)

Because, as you said, grammar Nazis worry about the syntactic structures of sentences but do not necessarily worry about semantics. Spelling Nazis worry about semantics but not syntax. They are overlapping but not completely overlapping categories.

Re:I am not usually a gramer Nazi, but... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#36402888)

How exactly does a sentence which starts with "here at The New York Times" ends up having two grammatical mistakes in it?

Sadly, I read the news often (both online and in dead tree format) ... I see an astonishing amount of evidence that even people who work for major news media are slipping in their ability to write properly.

I see typos, misuse of their/there, and plenty of other things ... I think grammar and spelling seem to be in decline everywhere. Time was, these guys were the ones who really knew the rules of English ... now they've got Microsoft Word to tell them that they've done a good job.

Re:I am not usually a gramer Nazi, but... (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#36402998)

Not to mention the shocking amount of using the wrong spelling of a word that slips through anymore, like they're/their/there, then/than, accept/except.

My English Comp professor used to outright reject papers with more than 2 or 3 errors like this...people complained, but really, how hard is it to proofread something before you submit it? Apparently damn hard...

Re:I am not usually a gramer Nazi, but... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403168)

My English Comp professor used to outright reject papers with more than 2 or 3 errors like this...people complained, but really, how hard is it to proofread something before you submit it? Apparently damn hard...

Well, if the little red squiggle shows up, you typed it wrong, what else it there to know? :-P

Wee went their too sea if they're was anything two bee scene ... that would pass a spell checker. It's almost gibberish unless you say it outloud and ignore the words as written.

If you simply don't know that you're using the completely wrong word, proof-reading doesn't get you anything. My English teachers from elementary school would be appalled at things you see nowadays.

Spelling cunts. ;-)

Re:I am not usually a gramer Nazi, but... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#36406868)

My favourite one is how journalists, particularly TV reporters, love to talk about people being evacuated. I know it can be hard to control one's bowels when faced with extreme danger but I'm pretty sure that's not what they meant.

Re:I am not usually a gramer Nazi, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36406928)

Slipping?

They are in free fall, and have been for some time.

Re:I am not usually a gramer Nazi, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36403346)

If you are a grammar Nazi, then perhaps you ought to double check your verb conjugation. Try this instead:
How exactly does a sentence which starts with "here at The New York Times" END up having two grammatical mistakes in it?

Re:I am not usually a gramer Nazi, but... (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403390)

The subject of the sentence was the word "sentence." I stand by the conjugation.

Re:I am not usually a gramer Nazi, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36403558)

The subject was “sentence”, but the conjugation should be “a sentence does end up” not “a sentence does ends up”, which is what you had.

The original AC is correct.

Re:I am not usually a gramer Nazi, but... (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#36406830)

Hmm... Took me another reading, but yes, you and the original AC were right. Although I continue to insist that I hold NYT to a higher grammar standard than myself. I don't make a habit of correcting grammar or spelling, but NYT is a standard-setting institution (or at least they claim to be). Anyone representing them ought to know better.

Re:I am not usually a gramer Nazi, but... (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403442)

You are a disappointment to grammar nazis everywhere. Please turn in your membership card.

Re:I am not usually a gramer Nazi, but... (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403724)

Sorry, you need to log in to the NYTimes site to access the grammatically correct version

Apple == 90s Microsoft? (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 2 years ago | (#36402828)

I used to hate the unscrupulous tactics MS used during the late 80s through the year 2000, so I bought Commodore and Apple computers instead. And now I see Apple copying many of those tactics. Kinda sad.

So boycott MS.
Boycott apple.
What's left?

Re:Apple == 90s Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36404106)

More like Apple == Apple. Throughout their history, they've been hell-bent on proprietary hardware and proprietary software to run on it.

Now that they have some money and power, watch as they turn into the most egregious iron-fisted jerks you've ever seen.

At least with Microsoft and the PC, you generally had a little bit of flexibility with the hardware (commodity parts aplenty, at least a few different disk operating systems, Xenix, etc and Linux for the last 20 years), but it's clear that the Apple dream is complete control of an integrated hardware/software stack.

It's the freaking dark ages of computing all over again.

Thanks, Apple.

Re:Apple == 90s Microsoft? (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36406218)

More like Apple == Apple. Throughout their history, they've been hell-bent on proprietary hardware and proprietary software to run on it.

opensource.apple.com

Apple has even initiated their own open source projects. And their hardware is based on open standards and industry standards, including standards that Apple themselves have made available to third parties.

You are right, though, that "Apple == Apple", but they are neither completely open, or completely closed. They are user-centric, with a focus on "normal" people. That's the one, main constant at Apple, and also why they are so phenomenally successful. It's also why this "Apple is super-proprietary" or evil or money grubbing, or whatever arguments are so misguided.

At least with Microsoft and the PC, you generally had a little bit of flexibility with the hardware (commodity parts aplenty, at least a few different disk operating systems, Xenix, etc and Linux for the last 20 years), but it's clear that the Apple dream is complete control of an integrated hardware/software stack.

The same Microsoft that would hose your bootloader if you installed Windows after installing Linux? And the same Apple that sells Macs with the express capability of running Windows? And which have been able to run Linux for well over a decade?

It's the freaking dark ages of computing all over again.

The "dark ages" where more people are able to do more things with their computers (especially Apple computers and devices) than ever before? Oh my, what an awful age we live in!

Apple != 90s Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36405790)

The worst thing about MS was that people ended up buying their products whether or not that's what they actually wanted. Buy a computer and unless you choose carefully, you're another Microsoft sales statistic.

Apple doesn't have anything like this going on, from what I can tell. (Sure, their software comes preloaded on their hardware, but anyone who buys a Mac knows they're getting MacOS, and in fact very well might be buying it for that reason. Nobody buys a Dell and explains "That was the only way I could get Windows.")

(The funny thing is that Android, of all things, might end up like that: buy a phone and, by default if you don't think about what you want, you end up with Android. (But there are some differences from the Windows situation, the big one being that Android just plain isn't as unpleasant to use as Windows. And if someone says, "Au contraire, Android sucks pretty bad," I suggest you think back to what Windows was like, especially in the 1990s.))

The second worst thing about MS was lockin through lack of interoperability. Someone in the office gets MS Word, and it saved everything in a weirdo file kformat by default, so other people needed MS Word. Apple sort of has someanalogous things like that going on, but to a vastly lesser degree.

Apple is evil, but they're not infiltrating unwitting/unwilling people the way Microsoft did. Nobody's under any pressure to buy Apple products, wondering how they're going to pay their bills unless they give up and become an Apple shop, or begrudgingly starts using Apple stuff because they can't avoid it. With the exception of the patent lawsuits, Apple is mainly only evil to people who like or use their products, and they're not getting in the way of people who have other visions. (Again: except for the patent crap.) To me, that's a world of difference.

For people who have outside MS influence for the last few years, perhaps it's too easy to forget what a frustrating and destructive scourge Windows was. Apple has the hateful intensity, but barely a percentage of the breadth.

Bravo to Apple on Lodsys (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 2 years ago | (#36402886)

Google and Microsoft, where are you?

Re:Bravo to Apple on Lodsys (2)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403264)

I was aware that Lodsys was also suing Android developers [bgr.com] , but what does Microsoft have to do about this right now?

This actually might be an interesting differentiation strategy -- if Apple can show that it will go to bat for its developers, then Google is obliged to do at least as much, or else Android begins to look unsafe. It's sortof sick (or interesting) to think that a legal team and patent indemnification has now become a part of a computing platform as important as the APIs, the brand and the marketing.

Re:Bravo to Apple on Lodsys (2)

Anonymous Crobar (1143477) | more than 2 years ago | (#36404234)

I'd go with "interesting" over sick. If you made alternators instead of software, indemnification would be a necessary part of your business plan to begin with. Software patent litigation is actually only a small part of the field of patent litigation, and despite what you see on slashdot, it's comparatively rare. You average run-of-the-mill patent dispute is much more likely to be about components in a pea-combiner or an x-ray source than it is going to be about the use of a specific codec.

With that said, if Apple gets in the ring on this one, expect a good fight. Apple, like IBM during the SCO litigation, needs to make an example out of Lodsys. That probably means something a little more spirited than a simple "I'll cover your defense costs." Even money on "an undisclosed settlement" before Lodsys starts writing any more briefs.

Re:Bravo to Apple on Lodsys (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#36405702)

Maybe Google doesn't have a license to the patent in question ? Apple's whole case rests on the fact that they had a cross-licensing deal with the company Lodsys bought the patents from and that prevents developers from being sued for using the technology Apple has built that implements said patent.

Android (4, Insightful)

robertl234 (787648) | more than 2 years ago | (#36402934)

Having a strong competitor will do the most amazing things :) I'm so glad that Google didn't let Apple achieve the >75% marketshare that they did with the iPods. Can you imagine the iPhone being the only credible smartphone in the market?

Re:Android (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36403140)

iPhone already is the only credible smartphone on the market.

Re:Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36403784)

My WinPhone7 would like a word with you... but it bricked itself during its last update.

Re:Android (1)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 2 years ago | (#36404946)

iPhone already is the only credible smartphone on the market.

Does that make their competitors incredible?

Re:Android (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36406330)

Yeah, because they never improved their iPods!

The reason Google got into the smartphone OS business is because they want a customer base to sell to advertisers. And in fact, the reverse is true, in terms of the impact of competition. The iPhone made Android what it is today. Android went from a BlackBerry clone to an iPhone clone after the iPhone came out.

Apple is Apple's best competitor. When, since 1997, has Apple ever just sat around and rested on its laurels?

Protecting their bottom line (4, Insightful)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#36402942)

I'm a cynic. I think they decided it would be more profitable in the long run. Android is growing like a weed on phones, and at least has some nifty tablets, even if those sales stink. Windows Phone is getting all the bells and whistles in the fall (even though their sales numbers stink too), and next year Windows 8 will attempt to take on iPad and OS X at the same time with a unified platform.

Apple has made tons of money already from their mandated royalties, and I think they are just feeling worried and trying to assuage old grudges of their partners in preparation for the next waves of real competition.

Re:Protecting their bottom line (1)

smoot123 (1027084) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403066)

Nothing cynical about protecting their bottom line. Virtually everything Apple (or any other company does) has to consider how this affects sales and profits. That's just what companies do: they produce something I like more than I like the money in my pocket. We make a trade, everyone's happy. If they fail, I keep the money, I'm happy, they're out of business.

The beauty of competition is it forces companies to do things I like even if they're not thrilled about it.

Re:Protecting their bottom line (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36404036)

Android is growing? What have you been reading? Not what everyone else is for sure? NO NO... Android has reached saturation.
I don't understand how people can compare Android (a software product running on VARIOUS phones) be compared to the iPhone (a single product).

OK, lets compare the OS.... iOS is running on over 75% of hand held devices.
OK, lets compare web kits. Apples is used in both iPhone and Android.

Hmmmmmm. Your an Apple hater. Oh thats right. Your scared because the PC share year over year dropped 1%... Apple, for five years in a row grew. This year by 28%? or was it more. I think more...

Yeah. Your an Apple hater?

Re:Protecting their bottom line (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36406382)

Apple has made tons of money already from their mandated royalties, and I think they are just feeling worried and trying to assuage old grudges of their partners in preparation for the next waves of real competition.

Apple makes almost nothing from their 30% cut. And you vastly overestimate the threat Apple faces. The part about Windows 8 taking on the iPad was especially amusing.

They make their money by selling hardware to their customers. Everything they do is about making their hardware and software more appealing to these very same customers. It's not "cynical" to alter your product to be more appealing.

I'm guessing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36402952)

It'll be a little cold in Hell today.

The devil is in the details (4, Informative)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403076)

Note that the devil is in the details.

While Apple will

  • no longer require publishers to also sell through iTunes
  • publishers are now allowed to charge more through iTunes if they so desire

They're still bound to some rules:

  • If a subscription is offered through the app, it must go through iTunes
  • a subscription through iTunes still nets Apple the 30%
  • customer data is still not made available to the publishers (unless the user so chooses, and the data provided in that case is limited)
  • Publishers may not use an UI element (button) that redirects to their own subscription portal

In other words.. they can offer the subscription elsewhere, but they're not allowed to make it easy for users to pick up said subscription.

It's still an improvement (for publishers, for users I'm sure the proposed earlier method was already ideal) as publishers can now at least offset the Apple take through price differentiation - but it still has its idiosyncrasies.

Re:The devil is in the details (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36403648)

You know, they've "quietly reversed their decision that required publishers who sell content and subscriptions... taking a 30% cut" Seems like the summary is saying that they're STOPPING the practise entirely. If you hadn't posted your comments, I would have assumed that they didn't do this.

I guess fanbois will be fanbois.

Re:The devil is in the details (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#36406938)

Publishers will just tell people to subscribe to their mobile formatted website, and maybe provide an app that does little more than frame the HTML. They don't make anything like 30% on their subscriptions so unless users are willing to pay 30% extra over a web subscription... Well, actually I think a fair few users would pay that just to get a special iPad formatted app or something, just because it makes them feel like it is specially for their prized possession rather than a generic web site that dirty Android users can browse too.

Even Google's 10% is a bit high for the newspaper industry, but you only have to pay it if you want Google to deliver your content. If you host your own data then the usual market fee is all that applies.

Re:The devil is in the details (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#36407428)

So far as I can see, placing a button that would open subscription management website in Mobile Safari would conform to the rules. For practical purposes, it's good enough.

Somebody Found the Sanity Token? (1)

sehlat (180760) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403122)

In any company, there's always somebody who has the "Sanity Token" and is
therefore actually *thinking* about the consequences. Apparently a party or parties
unknown in corporate finally realized that sodomizing your developer community
is a massively suboptimal long-term strategy.

Break up Apple (0)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403138)

Apple's gotten too big. It's got a major case of left-hand not knowing what right-hand is doing. It's almost a culture.

Re:Break up Apple (4, Funny)

Phleg (523632) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403660)

Right. Because the one thing we all can agree on about Apple is that it's an unorganized mess without a strong controlling central authority.

Break up Apple? On what grounds? (4, Interesting)

jamrock (863246) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403838)

Apple's gotten too big. It's got a major case of left-hand not knowing what right-hand is doing. It's almost a culture.

Gotten too big? By what arbitrary standard could that be decided? Because you don't like Apple?

Please give even a single instance of "left-hand not knowing what right-hand is doing" where Apple is concerned. That's about as far from reality as you can get in Apple's case. Not only is their integration working remarkably well for them, but their focus is almost terrifying in it's scope. Everything Apple does informs everything else, from the design of their hardware, software, and retail stores, to the thrust of their advertising and their carefully managed public image. That is their culture, which is diametrically opposed to your assertion. You're really describing Microsoft, with their multiple competing fiefdoms.

When Apple first announced their guidelines for subscriptions and the publishers protested in outrage, I predicted in a discussion that Apple would change them before they went into effect. I argued at the time that it seemed to me that Apple were merely floating a trial balloon to see how far they could push, and were probably well prepared in advance to exercise some flexibility. This also works for them, because they can then give the public impression that they're prepared to be reasonable, when in fact they had probably planned internally for less stringent terms. As I said, Apple manages their public image with extreme care, and I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised that they pushed their original terms knowing full well that they had no intention of implementing them. In fact I would argue that they would have been surprised if they had been widely accepted.

Re:Break up Apple? On what grounds? (0)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36403958)

So because of your fealty to Apple, you refuse to believe that this was a mistake. "Yeah, they meant to do that."

Re:Break up Apple? On what grounds? (1)

jamrock (863246) | more than 2 years ago | (#36404140)

Fealty to Apple? Hahahah! Now you're just being silly. You're presuming to fit my motivations for replying to you into your own skewed little worldview. And you didn't give any plausible grounds on which Apple could or should be broken up, besides your saying so. Wah wah wah! Grow the fuck up.

Re:Break up Apple? On what grounds? (-1, Flamebait)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36404188)

You're presuming to fit my motivations for replying to you into your own skewed little worldview.

Hypocrite.

Because you don't like Apple?

Dope.

Re:Break up Apple? On what grounds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36405514)

get a fucking life yourself. If you had read his comment properly and not become an outraged Apple fanboi, you may have realised he was attempting humour you fucking moron

Re:Break up Apple? On what grounds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36405148)

Interesting. Someone doesn't agree with you, so he must owe fealty to the organization you criticize. No evidence needed - just attack him, never mind the points he makes.

He's indulging in a reasoned debate, you prefer ad hominem attacks. How juvenile.

Re:Break up Apple? On what grounds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36406010)

"Everything Apple does informs everything else, from the design of their hardware, software,"

Have you used iOS? The button to COMPOSE is in a different place for mail, messages, notes. The home screen rotates and rearranges icons. On iPad you can't put iPod into shuffle from the main viewlp; must go to NOW PLAYING to view the cover art (which pops up every time you play a song, hiding the song list and MOVING the playback and volume controls.
Apple's apps are so isolated from each other. Almost no flow to them

Great scam example: Talkatone (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36403186)

It seems that the subscription based program "Talkatone" which allows you to make and receive calls via Google Voice, purposefully degrades quality in order for you to subscribe (Sipgate is the only other free alternative since Gizmo5's demise). Why would you buy a subscription to a free service when you just using a program? This is ridiculous! And to learn that Apple is taking a cut! After rejecting Google Voice apps in the past! WOW, I really hate Apple now. It just pisses me off that no other company can make a handheld computer with that high of resolution and a small form factor like the iPod Touch 4g...

Re:Great scam example: Talkatone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36403876)

Motorola Atrix? Motorola Photon? HTC Sensation? HTC Pyramid?

You should probably look before asking silly questions. =P

What's the difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36403606)

What's the difference between Apple and their users?

The latter use lube when they fuck you in the ass.

Red-hot poker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36405590)

This brings to my mind something a local comedian said. Forgive me as I paraphrase, translate and tone it down a bit all at once:

And so they shove a red-hot poker in your arsehole! And you scream and complain until they take it out and replace it with a lighter, the flame licking your arsehole. And you sigh in relief and say "Well, now that's better!"

Quietly? Seriously? The Press cracks me up (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 2 years ago | (#36405882)

The only quiet nature of it is that the Press calls it that due to Apple not broadcasting it's policies as front page news. The Developers all know about it and it didn't sneak up on us.
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