John Gruber, explaining away Apple's subscription money grab:
You’ll seldom go wrong betting on Apple doing something that’s good for Apple and good for its users — no matter what the ramifications for everyone else.
-DaringFireball, Feb. 15, 2011
Huh? Users don't get much of anything out of the new policy. In theory, users might get some tiny bit of extra convenience from being able to buy subscriptions inside of apps instead of having to use a web site. But, the cost is that Apple grabs 30% of the publishers' revenues.
This isn't Candyland. Publishers who sell subscriptions on the web can't magically give up 30% of their revenue and give it to Apple. Can the Wall Street Journal or Financial Times just hand 30% of their revenue to Apple? Hulu and Netflix? What about cloud services like Evernote or Readability? They'll all have to either cut back on the quality of their product or raise prices. And publishers can't raise prices just on the iOS version of their product because Apple prohibits any premium pricing. The main result may be publishers opting not to offer an iOS app at all. Make no mistake, this new policy is good for Apple, not users.
As I've said elsewhere, however, I do think the policy is a form of business model democracy. Small upstarts who don't have the legacy costs of major publishers could flourish with the 70/30 revenue split. It reminds me of when Apple put podcasting in the iTunes store, opening up the whole ad-supported radio show model to anyone with a great idea for a show.