Following new regulations in Taiwan, Apple last month began offering those living in the country a seven-day period in which they could “return” any purchases from the App Store. As discovered by IDG News, Apple has now formalized that policy and has updated their terms and conditions for the Mac App Store, App Store and iBookstore.
You may cancel your purchase within seven (7) days from the date of delivery and iTunes will reimburse you for the amount paid, provided you inform iTunes that you have deleted all copies of the product. Upon cancellation you will no longer be licensed to use the product. This right cannot be waived.
Whilst Apple has on occasion refunded purchases when customers contact support, this move allows any customer in Taiwan to get a reimbursement for any app and without any grounds within the first seven days. Some may recall with the recent uproar over the new Final Cut Pro X, Apple actually publicly offered anyone who had purchased FCP X a refund but they made sure to note that it was only a “one time exception”. However as the above snippet from the terms and conditions note, the process for those in Taiwan is still fairly tedious with consumers having to email the iTunes support team and manually delete the apps.
Apple’s “Greedy and Unjustifiable” In-App Purchase Rules
Finally someone who gets the problems with Apple’s recently announced subscription / in-app purchase policy. Instapaper developer Marco Arment nails it:
But one argument that Apple should care about: this policy will prevent many potentially great apps, from many large and small publishers, from being created on iOS at all.
A broad, vague, inconsistently applied, greedy, and unjustifiable rule doesn’t make developers want to embrace the platform.
Android’s installed base is now large enough that a huge, compelling new service could launch exclusively on it. (It wouldn’t be easy, but it’s possible.) What if the developer of the next mobile killer app decides, for political or economic reasons like this, to release it only on Android?
A few curious paradoxes:
And what about a situation like Amazon’s Kindle app that will presumably be targeted for not selling Kindle books via IAP, even though Amazon’s catalog is so large that it surpasses Apple’s own limits on how many IAP items an app can register?
There are a lot of first- and third-party apps that access Salesforce, LinkedIn, and 37signals’ services, all of which have paid service tiers. Will all of these be removed from the App Store if they don’t build in IAP?
As Arnold Kim puts it, Apple’s policy is as clear as mud. I’ve said this earlier today in regards of the Readability rejection, and I’m going to say it again: it’s ridiculous to enforce IAP for “software as a service”. Not that Apple can’t: they have all the rights to do what they want with their platform. But it doesn’t make sense.
Apple needs to clarify many points of In-App Purchases for developers and content publishers, and quickly.
Less than a day since Apple unveiled it’s somewhat new subscription rules and unsurprisingly there is already some backlash from publishers and suggestions of possible antitrust investigations. The most prominent content provider that has spoken out so far is Rhapsody, effectively signaling that Apple’s 30% is not economically viable for them after paying music publishers and as a result will not be implementing the new subscription service and policy.
Rhapsody’s president Jon Irwin issued a statement and amongst noting that it would be “economically untenable,” he also noted that they will be “collaborating with our market peers in determining an appropriate legal and business response to this latest development.” This certainly gives the impression of possible legal action if that avenue is open to them and interestingly enough The Wall Street Journal contacted several law professors and reported that Apple’s new policy could potentially “draw antitrust scrutiny”.