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Readability has seen its iOS app rejected from the App Store. The rejection has to do with the subscription rules that Apple recently instituted, and it’s another example of a developer who is, at least for now, going to forego the App Store and continue as a Web-based app.
Readability allows you to read Web content without all the ads and other distractions on a typical web page. For a subscription fee of $5 a month, Readability will take a Web page and turn it into “a comfortable reading view right in your web browser.” Readability also allows users to save their favorite articles for later reading.
70 percent of a subscriber’s fees goes to the Web publishers and content creators in your reading list. Readability, however, allows subscriptions via its site. There was apparently no in-app purchase method, which is required by Apple. Thus, the app was rejected.
The problem with the in-app purchase method is that Apple takes 30 percent of the revenue. Readability had been given $3.50 of the $5 per month subscription fee to content creators, and keeping only $1.50 for itself. If someone bought a subscription in-app, Apple would take $1.50 itself … what is left for Readability, unless it reduces the amount that it gives to Web publishers?
To be clear, Readability isn’t really supplying any content, per se. They are offering a service, and if SaaS developers can’t escape the grip of Apple’s 30 percent cut, things are going to be very grim.
Indeed, it is a problem, and one that prompted Readability to write an open letter to Apple:
To be clear, we believe you have every right to push forward such a policy. In our view, it’s your hardware and your channel and you can put forth any policy you like. But to impose this course on any web service or web application that delivers any value outside of iOS will only discourage smaller ventures like ours to invest in iOS apps for our services. As far as Readability is concerned, our response is fairly straight-forward: go the other way… towards the web.
Since we re-launched, we’ve already seen a significant amount of usage across a wide range of browsers, operating systems and devices via the Readability web interface – for both mobile and desktop. Looking ahead, we plan to redouble our efforts to deliver the best possible reading app using the latest best-of-breed web technology.
Readability’s site still says an iOS app is coming. Ironically, Apple put Readability technology into Safari last year for their Reader feature.
This story is far from over. Reports are that the federal government looking into the new App Store rules. For now, however, Readability will stick to the Web, and they’ve done fine so far with that. We hope they continue to do well. Watch a Readability demo in the sidebar.
Via: Readability, TechCrunch