updated 12:40 pm EST, Fri January 14, 2011
Leaves void of options for publications
Apple has banned several European newspapers from granting print subscribers free access to iPad editions, reports say. The App Store doesn't currently offer support for in-app subscriptions, meaning that a publication must typically offer all content for free or else charge on a per-issue basis. A Dutch newspaper, NRC, claims that the hard cutoff point for linking free downloads to print subscriptions is April 1st.
The newspaper suggests that publications are upset the with the move, as it makes Apple "too dominant." The company notably takes 30 percent of the revenue for all App Store downloads, including in-app ones, giving it strong incentive to control how developers sell content. The high cost of paying issue-by-issue is believed to be hurting iPad publications however, something borne out by magazine sales.
Although no American publications have so far mentioned the subscription ban, it could potentially be crippling if it extends internationally. High-profile magazines like People and The Economist, for instance, are already tying iPad subscriptions to print. It's not clear if the crackdown is being directed exclusively at newspapers.
Apple may be paving the way for official subscription support at the App Store. It was originally rumored to be coming with iOS 4.3, but no evidence of it has so far been found in the developer beta. Implementation is thought to have been delayed, to the extent of affecting the launch of the The Daily, News Corp.'s flagship iPad publication. The app may now be several more weeks away.