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Apple’s “Greedy and Unjustifiable” In-App Purchase Rules

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.