May 11, 2011
One month before Apple begins enforcing its policy of requiring all in-app purchases go through the App Store, it has claimed a victim. BeamItDown Software has announced it will close down its iFlowReader app and cease to exist as a company. In February, Apple indicated, beginning June 30, it would begin enforcing its long-held policy of requiring in-app purchases go through iTunes. This has been bad news for many since the policy gives Apple 30 percent of all sales generated, which is a hefty amount, especially for smaller companies. As a compromise, Apple said it would allow non-App Store purchases, so long as customers are given a choice within the app. In this case, BeamItDown Software has decided to throw in the towel, instead of giving Apple its cut. They claim by agreeing to Apple's terms they would have to sell their products at a loss. The iFlowReader app, which sells eBooks through an online store, will remain in the App Store. However after May 31, it will no longer be supported. Until that time, BeamItDown is encouraging its customers to protect their books by backing them up on their PC or Mac using iTunes. In an announcement on its website, BeamItDown states:
We absolutely do not want to do this, but Apple has made it completely impossible for anyone but Apple to make a profit selling contemporary ebooks on any iOS device. We cannot survive selling books at a loss and so we are forced to go out of business. We bet everything on Apple and iOS and then Apple killed us by changing the rules in the middle of the game. This is a very sad day for innovation on iOS in this important application category. We are a small company that thought we could build a better product. We think that we did but we are powerless against Apple’s absolute control of the iOS platform.In addition, BeamItDown states:
This controversy is over Section 11.13 of the App Store Review Guidelines for iOS Apps, which reads:
- iFlow Reader will no longer be supported and updated. Existing installations may not work in future releases of iOS.
- We will no longer be selling ebooks from our app or website. Our Website at iflowreader.com will be gone so you will no longer be able to access it import books or download your books to your devices or examine any of your bookmarks.
- You will not be able to download library books.
- You will not be able to Sync between devices, and user defined bookmarks will not appear on other devices, only the one where they were created.
- We will no longer be offering any apps in the iTunes App Store.
Apps can read or play approved content (magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, video) that is sold outside of the app, for which Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues, provided that the same content is also offered in the app using IAP at the same price or less than it is offered outside the app. This applies to both purchased content and subscriptions.In its closing statement, BeamItDown Software has harsh words for Apple. They state:
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.What do you think? Leave your comments below.
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