updated 12:30 pm EST, Mon February 21, 2011
New subscription rules harm dev's business model
Apple has blocked a native Readability iOS app from appearing at the App Store, its developers say. The service removes ads and other distractions from webpages in a bid to make reading easier, using a business model that returns 70 percent of the revenue to publishers. Apple's rejection notice quotes circumvention of in-app subscription rules, made widespread just last week.
The Readability team complains that they are not selling any content, but rather a service attached to a monthly fee. The group further suggests that treating the service as a subscription would be devastating under Apple's current billing, as the company claims a 30 percent cut off all in-app purchases. Readability's payouts to publishers would therefore have to fall to 40 percent; alternately, the developer might take home only 10 percent.
Making the rejection more unusual is that Readability is in fact a significant Apple partner. The firm's technology is built into Safari, effectively making it official. Many third-party developers have likewise complained that it may be financially unfeasible to use the App Store's subscription system.