Apple Wises Up and Changes Subscription Content Model

Nice Apple - Photo by: Stefan GustafssonLast week, I posted an article about 7 fundamental headwinds facing Apple stock (AAPL).  In point number #6 I noted:

Openness – This is the classic and often opined Achilles’ heel of Apple.  At it’s core (pun intended), Apple is a closed company.  They want to control everything.  They want to control the hardware, the software, the experience and now most importantly the market place (iTunes / App Store).  Apple lost the desktop PC battle to IBM and Microsoft because of this mindset.  Now they risk losing the phone and non-PC device market to the likes of Google for the same reason.  Android is open, very open.  Amazon even introduced a competing App Store.  Where there is openness, there is competition.  Competition drives down prices, increases quality and sparks innovation.  On a long enough timeline, Apple will lose this battle unless they change their ways and embrace a more open approach to growth.

Apple’s original policy on subscription content was a prime example of this lack of openness.  However, less than a day after my post, in what I am sure is pure coincidence 🙂 , it was reported that Apple had quietly changing their App Store subscription content terms!

Here is the old policy:

11.13 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.

Here is the new policy:

11.14 Apps can read or play approved content (specifically magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video) that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app, as long as there is no button or external link in the app to purchase the approved content. Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues for approved content that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app

This is a pretty big change and shows that there may actually be some hope for Apple in the long run to truly compete with the likes of Google, Amazon and Microsoft.  Regardless, they still have a long way to go when it comes to software, hardware and other policies before I believe they are full embracing openness as a strength instead of a weakness.

Photo Credit: Stefan Gustafsson

Apple Reverse Course on In-App Subscriptions | MacRumors

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