Steve Jobs: New In-App Subscription Policy For Publishing Apps, Not SaaS Apps

App Store

Yesterday, we reported that Apple had rejected Readability’s iOS application from the App Store as it did not offer in-app subscription option, which had raised concerns if this policy would be applicable to Software as a Service (SaaS) apps.

Steve Jobs has apparently responded to a MacRumors reader to clarify that in-app subscriptions are only for publishing apps and not Saas apps.

MacRumors reader sent the following email to Steve Jobs:

Hello Steve,

As a full time iOS developer, I am concerned (and confused) withe the new App Store guideline regarding “Apps offering subscriptions” (section 11.12).

Most of the iOS apps I have developed, as a contractor for other businesses, have been free apps that had login screens to allow the user access to some amount of private data. and/or service. These businesses have all been well established companies that sell some kind of service to their customers (Software As a Service companies) and the iOS app was merely another “portal” for their users to access their data/services (in many times, in a limited i.e. “mobile” fashion)…. for example; SalesForce. I am concerned that most of these businesses will choose to not develop an iOS app for their customers if the IAP & subscription policy was in place.

Would these type’s of free apps be still be allowed in the App Store or will they now be expected to use IAP?

Steve Jobs who is famous for his one-line replies responded to the email:

We created subscriptions for publishing apps, not SaaS apps.

Sent from my iPhone

So that should hopefully clarify things for developers of SaaS apps who were worried that they might also fall in the same category.

Meanwhile, John Gruber of Daring Fireball gives some perspective on why Readability’s iOS app was rejected:

I can see how many people, including content providers like Readability, wish that Apple had not instituted these new rules. But, given these rules, how can anyone be surprised by this rejection? Readability’s business model is to charge a subscription fee, keep 30 percent, and pass 70 percent along to the writers/publishers of the articles being read by Readability users. Sound familiar?

Maybe I’m missing something, but these guys claiming to be surprised and disappointed by Apple’s insistence on a 30 percent cut of subscriptions when their own business model is to take a 30 percent cut of subscriptions strikes me as rich. And how can they claim that Readability isn’t “serving up content”? That’s exactly what Readability does. What they’re pissed about is that Apple has the stronger hand. Readability needs Apple to publish an app in the App Store. Apple doesn’t need Readability.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.

[via MacRumors, Daring Fireball]