In what may well be a move to stem a move from publishers such as the Financial Times moving towards cross-platform HTML5 passed apps, and reducing consumer dependence on Apple products, Apple have quietly lessened their grip on subscriptions.
Back in February when Apple introduced its subscription feature to take advantage of magazines streaming services moving towards publishing on iPads, they also added a term that meant that publishers had to sell their subscription content on Apple products for the same price or less than on other platforms, but also give Apple 30% of their revenues from subscriptions. Understandably many content providers were less than impressed by these terms as they work on razor-thin margins and could not turn a profit with a 30% reduction in income, and this has resulted in the FT moving towards HTML5 and leaving Apple’s walled garden behind.
To stem a flood of publishers moving away from the App Store, Apple have quietly changed these notably greedy terms, and now allow publishers to get consumers to sign up for a subscription on their own sites, circumventing the requirement to give up 30%, and then get consumers to download the app separately. They are still forbidden to have a subscribe link within the app the circumvents Apple’s 30% cut, but it is a start at least and may slow the eventual move to open and cross-platform HTML5 apps.