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  • Apple May Provoke Anti-Trust Issues With New App Store Subscription Policy


    Within hours of Apple unveiling its new App Store subscription policy for digital content publishers wishing to provide subscription based materials through the App Store, suspicions are mounting that Apple may have effectively placed itself squarely into an anti-trust dilemma over its characteristically stringent control preferences.

    Within hours of Apple's announcement Tuesday, law professors who spoke with the Wall Street Journal alleged that Apple's new subscription service "could draw antitrust scrutiny." The reason is rooted in how Apple will allow content publishers to sell subscriptions through the App Store. To begin with, Apple demands all subscriptions be sold through the App Store. As a result, if a magazine wants to publish to the iPad in the form of an app, the publisher cannot include in the app a link back to the website where the subscription is also sold. You see, Apple nets a 30% share of any subscription it manages to sell through the App Store. That's why Apple is also stipulating that publishers cannot offer their subscription elsewhere at a price different from that which is advertised through the App Store.

    "My inclination is to be suspect" about Apple's new service, said Shubha Ghosh, an antitrust professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Two key questions in Mr. Ghosh's mind: Whether Apple owns enough of a dominant position in the market to keep competitors out, and whether it is exerting "anticompetitive pressures on price."
    For now, Apple is not offering comment on any potential antitrust implications. And for that matter, neither is the US Justice Department. But it's clear from the initial wave of reactions to Apple's new subscription policy that more than one legal challenge to its apparent "anticompetitive" nature could follow.

    Wall Street Journal
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple May Provoke Anti-Trust Issues With New App Store Subscription Policy started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 49 Comments
    1. iphone?3gs's Avatar
      iphone?3gs -
      Quote Originally Posted by marnix1991 View Post
      HEY has someone else had the issue with ibooks that doesn't let people read their books if the device is jailbroken
      No, that issue is non existent.
    1. ohthatguyagain's Avatar
      ohthatguyagain -
      Quote Originally Posted by dsg View Post
      Appl£ shouldn't stipulate anything they're just a shop.

      That like my local shop saying to the sauce manufacture, you can only advertise that you sell that sauce here and no where else, the sauce manufacture wouldn't enter a deal like that because it's bad for business

      It's just Appl£ control bull **** again
      Problem :

      local sauce shop does not equal global market access to the best selling mobile devices in the world, as well as complete access to the tablet market in which apple faces NO direct competition at the moment.

      Also:

      Doesn't the sauce shop do a markup so they make their cut? If not, they are already out of business. No profit = closed doors.

      Might wanna rethink your analogy.
    1. marnix1991's Avatar
      marnix1991 -
      Quote Originally Posted by iphone?3gs View Post
      No, that issue is non existent.
      wait and see once it hits you, you'll be pissed
      comex has even announced it
      http://www.twitlonger.com/show/8r4pbb
    1. ohthatguyagain's Avatar
      ohthatguyagain -
      Quote Originally Posted by D.J.C. View Post
      I think there is a little something that people are missing. Apple isn't saying you can't sell your subscriptions elsewhere. They are just saying you can't link to an alternative subscription purchase method from within the app itself. Apple's stance behind this is end user simplicity. Give them one easy way to purchase from within the app. If you add more options it would just get too confusing for a lot ( but not all ) users.
      Agreed. Also, they aren't price fixing - the vendor fixes the price and can offer it on any other device at any other price or can offer it for download on the web at whatever price they want. Apple is just saying that if they bring the business to the company, they'd like to be paid for it. Especially since the company will likely make significant money on recurring subscribers. Apple's 30% is a one-time deal too- no renewal fees.
    1. iphone?3gs's Avatar
      iphone?3gs -
      Quote Originally Posted by dsg View Post
      Appl£ shouldn't stipulate anything they're just a shop.

      That like my local shop saying to the sauce manufacture, you can only advertise that you sell that sauce here and no where else, the sauce manufacture wouldn't enter a deal like that because it's bad for business

      It's just Appl£ control bull **** again
      What? Apples not saying you can't sell anywhere else, there saying not to advertise here. Do you go to Walmart and see an advertising for kroger? No. Its the same here.
    1. coolguy742's Avatar
      coolguy742 -
      Just being sure does anyone here even know what a trust is? (a lot of the mods probably know, they're adults hahaha)
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      Quote Originally Posted by j.eck.art.3d View Post
      You are missing a very big point in your rebuttal: Apple is insisting that the publishers not offer their subscriptions elsewhere for a different (lower) price. Apple is effectively price fixing a segment, which is very illegal.
      Your right there.

      From the new Policy:
      "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."
      I.E If you try to offer the subscription cheaper than the in-app price, outside of the app, your app will be pulled or rejected.

      Quote Originally Posted by coolguy742 View Post
      Just being sure does anyone here even know what a trust is? (a lot of the mods probably know, they're adults hahaha)
      Yes, they are laws that try prevent unfair, anti-competitive and monopolistic business practices.

      Anti-Trust (U.S.) = Anti-Competitive (E.U.)
    1. stldirty's Avatar
      stldirty -
      There is absolutely nothing wrong with what Apple is doing. They are preventing the publishers from exploiting a loop hole. Think about it, if they were allowed to post cheaper prices on their website they could make the app store subscription 10x as high to pretty much force users to their website so they get all the profit. do you think best buy would let sony post a sign in their store that says "get this tv cheaper on our website?". It's a simple case of vendors and distributors. If the publishers don't like it...let em make their own mobile smart phone platform or GO SOMEWHERE ELSE.
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      Quote Originally Posted by feidhlim1986 View Post
      That's why it provokes breaking anti-trust and anti-competitiveness laws.
      But I prefer in-app payments or subscriptions rather than having to go through safari to a devs/publishers website and enter my credit card details there too.
      Maybe Apple should renegotiate the 70/30 split for subscriptions?
      Yeah I agree and they may end having to change it if it becomes a problem. But for now that's the law of the land, publishers either go with it or they don't do business with them.
    1. EdmundGerber's Avatar
      EdmundGerber -
      Quote Originally Posted by dale1v View Post










      8, yeah
      Says it all, about this joke of a site, doesn't it, when the staff are as idiotic as the inmates....
    1. mortopher's Avatar
      mortopher -
      Quote Originally Posted by EdmundGerber View Post
      Says it all, about this joke of a site, doesn't it, when the staff are as idiotic as the inmates....
      So why are you still here?

      Quote Originally Posted by marnix1991 View Post
      HEY has someone else had the issue with ibooks that doesn't let people read their books if the device is jailbroken
      Quote Originally Posted by iphone?3gs View Post
      No, that issue is non existent.
      Yes, it is a problem for all jailbreaks. Howvever it only applies to iBooks that have drm protection.

      PwnageTool 4.2 that was just released includes a fix for this that Comex came up with.
    1. GmAz's Avatar
      GmAz -
      Quote Originally Posted by steve-z17 View Post
      Well you either want to publish with Apple and their rules or you don't. That's just how it is.
      And yet when Microsoft wants to include IE in their OS that allows you to download a new browser, its anti-trust.

      Apple thinks they can dictate to other companies the prices they are allowed to charge for subscriptions outside the app store, thats a big **** off apple.

      Plus, their phones are turning to **** just as iOS is.
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      Ooph. The details are a little screwy (as in bad). Apple says that apps can't link to the internet for subscriptions. I don't think the app owners are allowed to even mention anything they're selling in their app without needing an in-app purchase of the same product or service.

      So, basically if you use the AppStore as a means of promoting your product, Apple wants a share.

      Advertising. That's what this is all about. Apple's trying to wiggle its way into Google territory. Apple wants a piece of that pie.
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChaos View Post
      Cydia? How cool would that be?

      Cydia charges 30% for sales too and doesn't have in-app purchases that I've seen. Apple's larger audience is a way better deal for apps.
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      Quote Originally Posted by iphone?3gs View Post
      No, that issue is non existent.
      I'm pretty sure it's RC6 only. I used RC5 and don't have it.
    1. csglinux's Avatar
      csglinux -
      Quote Originally Posted by steve-z17 View Post
      Well you either want to publish with Apple and their rules or you don't. That's just how it is.
      That depends on whether these developers all knew of Apple's new rules before they started investing in development of their apps and content. It sounds like Apple is pulling the rug out from under the app-developers' feet. I see no positives here, apart from a short-term boost to Apple's share holders. The long term result of this move will be negative for everybody.
    1. CynicalDriver's Avatar
      CynicalDriver -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zokunei View Post
      Cydia charges 30% for sales too and doesn't have in-app purchases that I've seen. Apple's larger audience is a way better deal for apps.
      I don't think Cydia dis-allows in-app purchases/subscriptions. Key difference.


      Sent from my iPhone using ModMyi
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      Quote Originally Posted by CynicalDriver View Post
      I don't think Cydia dis-allows in-app purchases/subscriptions. Key difference.


      Sent from my iPhone using ModMyi
      Apple has 95% of iOS users instead of 5%. Key difference. (You have to figure in that about 10% jailbreak and half of those are pirates or don't have a credit card.)
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      Quote Originally Posted by GmAz View Post
      And yet when Microsoft wants to include IE in their OS that allows you to download a new browser, its anti-trust.

      Apple thinks they can dictate to other companies the prices they are allowed to charge for subscriptions outside the app store, thats a big **** off apple.

      Plus, their phones are turning to **** just as iOS is.
      I didn't say it was right, I just said that that's the way it is right now, if they don't like it then they don't publish with Apple. If you don't like Apple and their phones then don't buy them, bottom line. It's really not that difficult..

      Quote Originally Posted by EdmundGerber View Post
      Says it all, about this joke of a site, doesn't it, when the staff are as idiotic as the inmates....
      Why are you here? Go troll somewhere else...
    1. rawhog's Avatar
      rawhog -
      "Our philosophy is simple — when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30 percent share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100 percent and Apple earns nothing," said Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs. "All we require is that, if a publisher is making a subscription offer outside of the app, the same (or better) offer be made inside the app, so that customers can easily subscribe with one-click right in the app. We believe that this innovative subscription service will provide publishers with a brand new opportunity to expand digital access to their content onto the iPad, iPod touch and iPhone, delighting both new and existing subscribers."

      So, if I have a subscription to a print version of Popular Science. And I decide that I want to read the issues on my iPad. Apple gets no share because PS brought me to the app. PS should be able to let me access my paid for subscription electronically without having to pay for it again. But Apple won't let them do that.