Apple reverses iOS subscription policy

Apple reverses iOS subscription policy

Apple seems to have quietly reversed course on their controversial subscription policy, which previously required publishers to offer the same price in-app as on the web (or elsewhere), and disallowed them from linking to external subscription offers. Now with iOS 5, all of that is gone. According to MacRumors, the updated guideline reads as follows:

11.14 Apps can read or play approved content (specifically magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video) that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app, as long as there is no button or external link in the app to purchase the approved content. Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues for approved content that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app

This doesn't seem to address the other big publisher complaint -- opt-in vs. opt-out demographic data sharing, but it definitely helps them with their bottom line. Basically, things go back to being where they were before the new subscription policy, and Amazon Kindle and Netflix will no doubt be happy.


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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple reverses iOS subscription policy


Maybe you don't understand why this is important... This will help promote and get a lot more external content on the iPad.. Maybe you are just too stupid to understand why Rene posts these articles.. Come back when you grow up...

It can also make in-app purchasing more expensive with the price-parity clause thrown own. Lower cost is a huge huge driving factor in where you shop. The original rules guarded Apple against developers using the popularity of iOS to make their own stores more popular; hence, the no linkage or buttons to a webstore and the price parity clause.
The new rule is still a pretty low gate, and can be overcome if the app/contents are good enough.
The larger, richer developers basically will do this, and only the small developers who find retailing too inconvenient will go for it.

Why are you even here? Just to talk bad about it? Get out of here. You sound like an ignorant dumb fool, especially changing his last name like that. We do care.

the bluff was called.
this was my only [though major] bone of contention with apple's policy, and they've appeared to have remedied it.

Why must these phones be named after fruit? I keep an apple and a blackberry in my pocket and I'm always hungry. Good thing neither use Orange!

Just be glad they aren't running honeycomb, froyo, gingerbread, or some other tooth-rotting stuff as an os! :P

You're right - I posted, but didn't realize it - but man, this is awesome!
Such a huge, huge, huge improvement!
Thank you, TIPB!
Shame TUAW isn't using Discus too.
I may have disliked Discus at first, but the more I spend on blogs, and the more I deal with my blog, the more valuable I see it.
Now I understand why my comment disappeared on a another post! ;D

What does "as long as there is no button or external link" mean? Will the Kindle app, for example, be able to link to the web page for that book on Amazon's site, or is that still forbidden?

Sounds like they are taking a no button stance reference the civil suit for in app purchase. Will this do away with in app purchase?

I'm glad to see that Apple put the longterm health of the platform ahead of short term profits.