February 7, 2011
Apple’s stance on in-app purchases for magazines and newspapers on its iDevices is causing a growing storm in Europe. According to the Associated Press, members of the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association have received letters from Apple informing them of a planned changed, which would require them to give Apple part of the profits. According to the letters, Apple is going to require ALL purchases be done via its iTunes payment system. Just days ago, we reported Apple had tried to clarify its position on in-app purchases, by stating:
We have not changed our developer terms or guidelines. We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase.At the time, we said the statement was "quite contradictory." The news out of Europe makes it even more so. According to the report, newspaper publishers in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and France have been informed by Apple that it would charge a commission for subscriptions sold through iTunes, which “in some cases was 30 percent of the overall subscription price.” Companies such as Amazon currently offer e-book purchases outside of apps, thereby bypassing Apple, its iTunes payment system, and of course, the 30 percent commission. Would Apple really allow two different types of payment options, one it controls and one it doesn’t? Seems increasingly unlikely, and hence the reason for concerns in Europe. Apple really needs to clarify its position. Its fuzzy response is no good for publishers and consumers alike. What do you think? Is this a question of which side blinks first, or will companies like Amazon buckle to Apple's demands? Or will they simply leave the marketplace altogether? Leave your comments below.