Apple iPad Subscriptions — Evil?

Insight into the world of iOS developers

CNET ran a story yesterday about BeamItDown Software, the start-up software developer who made the iFlow Reader app for iOS. They condemn Apple for a draconian policy.

And a full interview at CNET of BeamItDown’s co-founder Dennis Morin.

Nowhere in the history of application development has there been rules associated with it, let alone hundreds of rules like there are now. I mean, this extends their [Apple’s] control-freak nature to a whole new level. So yeah I can sell an app on my Web site, that’s fine. But if I have something for sale on my Web site, I have to have a button in the app that allows a user to purchase that item through Apple’s In-App Purchase system for the same price that I sell it at on my Web site.

Now if I’m selling a book for $10 and someone clicks on that button in the app, I lose $1.15 on the sale and Apple makes $3. Let’s face it, the user doesn’t give a s—. They’re going to purchase it from wherever’s easiest to purchase it.

The bottom line is that if you buy a book through iBooks, Apple makes 30 percent on the sale. And if you buy a book through iFlow, Apple makes 30 percent on the sale. And I lose money.

To clarify the outrage these developers feel:

What people don’t understand is that if you’re selling an app on iOS, Apple hosts that app on their server. You upload it, the customer downloads it, it gets downloaded from their servers. OK. With In-App Purchase it doesn’t work that way. You host everything. You ship it directly to the customer. All Apple does in the process is collect the money and basically give you a token that says it was collected and you do everything else. It’s essentially doing exactly the same thing as a credit-card processing company for this 30 percent. Nothing more.

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