Steve Jobs: “We Created Subscriptions For Publishing Apps, Not SaaS Apps”

Posted Feb 22, 2011

There is some controversy surrounding Apple’s subscription revenue-sharing rules. Earlier this month Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced a new subscription model where Apple would take a 30% cut for publishers sell subscriptions to their magazines through the Apple App Store. Some software-as-a-service developers are worried that Apple will take a 30% cut from them as well if a mobile app is part of their premium packages. Apple CEO Steve Jobs clarified this matter in an e-mail recently. A MacRumors reader wrote the following e-mail 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 replied by saying:

We created subscriptions for publishing apps, not SaaS apps.

Sent from my iPhone