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Rejected: Readability creator says Apple policy “smacks of greed”

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Apple’s new in-app purchasing policy enforcement is making some enemies. Last Friday, Readability, a service that lets you customize reading in a Web page, was rejected for distribution on the App Store because it does not utilize Apple’s in-app purchasing system, which gives Apple a 30 percent cut of sales. In response, Readability’s creator, Richard Ziade, wrote an open letter to Apple on the company’s blog, berating the iPhone maker for its new policy.

“…we believe that your new policy smacks of greed,” wrote Ziade. “Subscription apps like ours represent a tiny sliver of app sales that represent a tiny sliver of your revenue. You’ve achieved much of your success in hardware sales by cultivating an incredibly impressive app ecosystem. Every iPad or iPhone TV ad puts the apps developed by companies like ours front and center. It was a healthy and mutually beneficial dynamic: apps like ours get exposure and you get to show the world how these apps make your hardware shine. That’s why we’re a bit baffled here.”

Ziade explained that adhering to Apple’s new demands would put the economics of Readibility in jeopardy. The company currently pays out 70 percent of e-book revenue directly to writers and publishers, something it would be unable to do under Apple’s newly enforced rules.

The solution: Readability is sticking with the open Web where there is no hardware maker ready to snatch 30 percent. Is this the beginning of a Web app comeback?

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