Developers Deal with Apple’s New App Store Rules

Apple wants a 30% cut of all apps sold in its store

Apple’s new App Store guidelines—which effectively tighten Apple’s control over what is sold in the store—are expected to kick in over the next few months. Now, app developers are being forced to figure out whether to comply with the rules or find an alternative, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

According to the guidelines, which Apple announced in February, any company offering books, music, movies, or magazine subscriptions for download on an Apple device must make them available through an app, and not just provide a link within the app to an outside site. Apple also said that it will take a 30 percent cut of all sales. Apple hasn’t set an official date for the changes to kick in.

Apps including a Sony e-book, as well as a textbook app from education service company Follett, have already been rejected for not complying with the new terms. A Follett exec said that giving Apple a 30 percent cut would force them to operate at a loss, and he believes that the guidelines could make some publishers abandon apps rather than offering them with the expectation of lowered revenue.

Some execs are keeping their fingers crossed that Apple will eventually relax the new rules, and several book publishers are hoping to negotiate their own terms. Magazine publishers Hearst and Condé Nast have managed to negotiate new deals with Apple to offer iPad subscriptions to their publications through the App store.

Other companies are taking a “deal with it” approach to the changes. “You've got to treat the App Store like Walmart,” said the CEO of Yudu, a U.K. developer of digital editions of print publications that is complying with Apple’s demands. “If you want to put [a product] into Walmart, Walmart sets the rules.”