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A Restriction Too Far?

February 15, 2011 21:12:30.895

I think that Apple's latest restrictions on subscriptions - that vendors have to sell through the app store, and can't provide a link to external services - is going to cause a lot of problems. Rhapsody is is the first to complain, but I doubt they'll be the last. I can hardly wait to see what Amazon does with the Kindle app (if it applies to Amazon; that's unclear right now):

Rhapsody has issued a statement, which says that it's not going to play ball and even levels a bit of a threat: "We will be collaborating with our market peers in determining an appropriate legal and business response to this latest development." The big trouble stems from the fact that Apple requires anybody offering a subscription service to offer that service for the same price or less through Apple. That means you can still sign up folks through your own methods and get all the cash, but if anybody signs up through your app, Apple gets a 30 percent cut. In addition, Apple is no longer allowing applications to include a link to an external site for purchasing, which means vendors will have trouble getting new users to pay them directly instead of using Apple's simple but heavily-taxed option.

This is going to get uglier for Apple as more vendors start to follow Rhapsody's lead. I tend to be very cynical about government involvement in this sort of thing, but this much is clear: Apple really, really shouldn't want that kind of attention.

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posted by James Robertson

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