The Orange View (on hiatus) Because Apple is great but it isn't perfect

23Feb/11Off

Updated: Even John Gruber has problems with Apple’s subscription policy

[UPDATED BELOW] Amazing. After Marco Arment criticized Apple's new anti-competitive iOS subscription policy, the guru of Mac pundits, John Gruber, has also come out against at least one aspect of the plan.

Gruber linked to a piece by Matt Drance entitled "About This Whole Subscription Hubbub." Gruber clipped a passage that was critical of one of the worst aspects of the new policy which requires that iOS subscriptions be priced at or below the price of subscriptions on any other platform. "I agree with Drance entirely, including this," Gruber added.

-DaringFireball, Feb. 22, 2011

UPDATE: Or not. In a post just now, Gruber praises the new policy as broadly good for users, claiming no apps have been kicked out yet. So I guess Sony ebook customers haven't lost out on anything yet? Oh right...

But on the anti-competitive pricing rule, he's backing Apple now:

The price protection rule — which prohibits publishers from charging iOS App Store users more for in-app subscriptions than they would pay from outside the store — might be a bad deal for publishers, but it’s good for users, because they know they’re getting the best price.

-DaringFireball, Feb. 23, 2011

It's not good for users, although it might be more certain for users. Publishers like the Wall Street Journal or The Economist will have to make up for Apple's mandatory 30% take with higher prices across all platforms. And what of the popular combined print and online subscriptions? It's galling when such tiny improvements in simplicity of process are claimed as huge benefits.

I continue to believe that the new rules will be fantastic for next-generation publishers who can thrive with access to a huge audience and easily survive the 30% cut. In some ways, it's like Apple's addition of podcasting to iTunes which opened the door to a whole new micro-broadcasting industry. But for many established publishers and other purveyors of digital content and their millions of customers, it's no so good.

Posted by Aaron Pressman

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