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Feb 22, 2011 @ 2:33pm / admin

Steve says new subscription terms only apply to publishing apps

Despite Steve’s recently announced absence from the company it looks like he is still involved somewhat and still takes time to respond to the occasional email.

Apple recently announced their subscription service for publishing apps.  The flagship application for this announcement was News Corporation’s app The Daily.

Since then a lot of talk has arisen regarding the pricing policy and the rejection of some apps which do not utilize In App Purchasing.  A lot of this stemmed from the recently rejected app Readability.

One MacRumors reader requested clarification of Apple’s guidelines for iOS apps that offer subscriptions for SaaS apps.  He wrote:

Hello Steve,

As a full time iOS developer, I am concerned (and confused) withe the new App Store guideline regarding “Apps offering subscriptions” (section 11.12).

Most of the iOS apps I have developed, as a contractor for other businesses, have been free apps that had login screens to allow the user access to some amount of private data. and/or service. These businesses have all been well established companies that sell some kind of service to their customers (Software As a Service companies) and the iOS app was merely another “portal” for their users to access their data/services (in many times, in a limited i.e. “mobile” fashion)…. for example; SalesForce. I am concerned that most of these businesses will choose to not develop an iOS app for their customers if the IAP & subscription policy was in place.

Would these type’s of free apps be still be allowed in the App Store or will they now be expected to use IAP?

Steve replied to this and specifically addressed the new subscription terms:

We created subscriptions for publishing apps, not SaaS apps.

Sent from my iPhone

Hmm, it seems pretty obvious to me that the Readability is a subscription and publishing app that is attempting to circumvent Apple’s In App Publishing.  Only time will tell if Apple intends to put out a subscription service for Software As A Service apps.  My guess is that won’t be the case as Apple up until this point have been careful about filtering publishing apps from the App Store as they were planning on putting out a subscription for publishing offering.  Changing the terms for SaaS apps would effect a lot of apps which are currently out on the market.  It may not even be legal to take a cut of SaaS apps as they don’t offer up any copyrighted content.

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