Google Announces ‘One Pass’ as Publishers Push Against Apple Subscriptions

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Yesterday, Apple announced how it plans to handle subscriptions inside apps. The basic details are that subscriptions to content-based apps sold within the App Store earn Apple a 30% cut of any revenue generated unless the subscriber is referred directly to the app from the publisher.

(More on The Basics Behind Apple’s New Subscription Payments System)

Publishers are allowed to sell subscriptions outside of the app store, which would allow them to keep 100% of the profits, but any in-app subscription prices must match externally offered subscription prices. And apps can’t link to outside subscription pages on the web.

Some legal experts have raised questions about possible antitrust issues already, while one company in particular—music service, Rhapsody—has issued a public statement saying that it wouldn’t be able to sell its app if forced to hand Apple a 30% commission.

Rhapsody’s statement, in part, reads:

“[A]n Apple-imposed arrangement that requires us to pay 30 percent of our revenue to Apple, in addition to content fees that we pay to the music labels, publishers and artists, is economically untenable.  The bottom line is we would not be able to offer our service through the iTunes store if subjected to Apple’s 30 percent monthly fee vs. a typical 2.5 percent credit card fee.

We will continue to allow consumers to sign up at from a smartphone or any other Internet access point, including the Safari browser on the iPhone and iPad.  In the meantime, we will be collaborating with our market peers in determining an appropriate legal and business response to this latest development.”

The new rules will apply to existing apps as well, such as Amazon’s Kindle e-book app. The app currently links out to Amazon’s website where a customer can buy a book and then return to the app to read it.

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