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Apple, Microsoft warring over SkyDrive iOS app, sources say

updated 10:05 am EST, Tue December 11, 2012

Apple claiming revenue cut on subscriptions even when off iOS

Apple and Microsoft are in a fight over the SkyDrive app on the iOS App Store, according to sources said to be close to the latter party. Recently, Microsoft introduced the ability for SkyDrive subscribers to buy extra storage space. In response, though, Apple has reportedly started blocking updates to the app, even though code that's ready to go includes an important crash fix.

The dispute arises from the fact that Apple is asking for a 30 percent cut of subscription purchases in perpetuity, even though a person might later stop using SkyDrive on an iOS device. If a person keeps using their account, in other words, Apple is said to be asking for 30 percent of the storage fee, since the billing was originally handled through an iTunes account.

Microsoft is said to be trying to negotiate some sort of compromise with Apple, but without any success so far. This includes even offering to strip out all subscription options from the app, but Apple has rejected the idea. Apple is moreover said to be locking out third-party apps that connect with SkyDrive, like Files Pro, which is being prevented from updating because of a "Sign Up" button in the Live login page. The official reason for the rejection is that "Apps that link to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the app, such as a 'buy' button that goes to a web site to purchase a digital book, will be rejected." Another title, CloudMusic for SkyDrive, has been frozen because "the log in interface must be native and not a link or a web view," although the method used is believed to be the only way to sign into SkyDrive.

The sources elaborate that even if Microsoft pulled the SkyDrive app entirely, issues would remain, since Apple would still see subscriptions as dodging the in-app scheme from which it collects revenue.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. pairof9s

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 01-03-08

    Can't say I agree w/ Apple on this one. I think as iOS users, we should have the freedom to purchase items through our devices for our own personal reasons. I certainly didn't buy an iPhone for the exclusivity of iTunes' offerings.

  1. ebeyer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-09-04

    I agree. I think Apple is overreaching here.

  1. panjandrum

    Junior Member

    Joined: 12-01-04

    Apple is dangerously on the verge of self-destructing. Their control-obsession is going to be their undoing because the youth simply won't stand for it. I work with a large group of extremely smart and (mostly) tech-savy "tweens" and "teens" every day, and they've been running like heck away from their iPhones, iPods and even iPads and moving to Android. Why? Well, because despite the drawbacks of a fragmented system and overall worse end-user experience, they have begun to discover that they *can't do what they want to do* with their Apple products unless they repeatedly go through a complicated jail-breaking process. There is going to be a HUGE backlash against Apple eventually over this unless they figure out what's happening and change their ways...

    One way they can fix what's happening is to stop preventing Apps from appearing (or, in this case, being updated) on the App store because Apple might not make enough money from the App. What a horrible practice for a company that claims to care about the "user experience".

  1. pastusza

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 11-01-99

    Doesn't the Kindle app take you out to a browser to buy a book? How is this different?

  1. Inkling

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 07-25-06

    Samsung, Google and the Android gang must be absolutely delighted by this cat fight. Its main effect is to make iOS apps clumsier than their Android counterparts. On a Samsung tablet, someone on vacation can buy an ebook from Amazon from within the Kindle app. On an iPad, they have to clumsily go through a browser that's ill-suited for that. That's irritating.

    And for what? A thirty percent slice of retail (here forever) is absurd. Apple's done nothing to deserve that. By the same logic, Microsoft could insist of grabbing 30% of all transactions on point of sale terminals and ATMs that run a Windows variant. That's why so few app developers have signed up for it.

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-11-08

    Originally Posted by InklingView Post


    And for what? A thirty percent slice of retail (here forever) is absurd. Apple's done nothing to deserve that.



    In context of eBooks alone, sure, maybe not.

    In the larger context of the App Store, Apple has done more than enough to deserve a 30% cut. What's the hardest part of starting a business? Getting customers. Getting eyeballs on your stuff. Getting an audience.

    Apple brings to you millions upon millions of hungry customers so that an app developer has to exert very little energy and spend very little money to get their product in front of millions of people, money in hand, waiting to buy something. You may not see it -- you may not even agree with it -- but the sad truth is that you can open the best bakery in town, but if you have no customers, you're not worth anything. You have to spend massive amounts of money advertising your location and getting those customers. What to do then? Hire a salesperson, who, by their salary and commission schedule alone, could be taking more than 30% of the profits.

    "Apple's done nothing to deserve that."

    Hah. That's a laughable statement.

  1. Waragainstsleep

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 03-20-04

    Originally Posted by InklingView Post

    Apple's done nothing to deserve that. By the same logic, Microsoft could insist of grabbing 30% of all transactions on point of sale terminals and ATMs that run a Windows variant. That's why so few app developers have signed up for it.



    Yes, there are so few developers on the app store.

    What is it you think that Google does to earn its money? It comes from referring customers except they get paid regardless of whether those people buy anything or not. 70% of a sale you wouldn't have gotten otherwise is better than 100% of nothing. Its not rocket science.

    Anyway it turns out this dispute is probably not about Skydrive storage but about Office 365 subscriptions and Office for iOS. M$ is still in the wrong here, iOS is doing fine without Office, M$ will get more benefit from Apple even if they agree to a 30% cut.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by WaragainstsleepView Post

    Anyway it turns out this dispute is probably not about Skydrive storage but about Office 365 subscriptions and Office for iOS. M$ is still in the wrong here, iOS is doing fine without Office, M$ will get more benefit from Apple even if they agree to a 30% cut.



    This is the point.

    The big problem for Microsoft is one they're constantly facing: Damned if you do, ****ed if you don't.

    If they offer Office for iPad, they've ****ed the Windows RT platform in several ways:
    For one, you've just legitimized a platform you've been hell-bent on portraying as useless for "real" work.
    For another, you've just killed the only real advantage your in-house upstart had over the incumbent that is dominating the market (despite being just a "toy"), which was Office exclusivity.

    But by NOT offering Office, they:
    Lend more proof to the idea that a platform is perfectly viable without direct Office support EVERY DAY (and the iPad has probably done as much to prove that point than any OpenOffice implementation).
    Lose the opportunity to entrench Office as an absolutely indispensable tool on the fastest-growing market in computing, they way they managed to do on the desktop market.

    But they need to focus on the Office platform, which is essential now that it seems clear that Windows OS dominance, while not yet at sunset, is most certainly past high noon. Moving towards sunset if Windows RT doesn't take off (and it isn't looking that way, especially not if they offer Office for iOS…and round she goes)

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