Apple has rejected another reading app due to a lack of iTunes billing integration and the publisher is not happy about it. Readability is a service, which offers users a clutter and ad-free version of online content for easy reading for $5 per month. Readability in turn gives publishers in the user’s reading list 70% of the membership fee. A few weeks ago, Readability got word that their iPhone app was rejected by Apple 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, chiding 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 also explained that sticking to Apple’s policies would put readability’s economy vulnerable. 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. Readability is really annoyed with Apple’s decision since it didn’t seem to make any sense. As a result of rejection and a couple of weeks of hard work, Readability has come with a full-on HTML5 version of their app, which Readability is releasing today. The web app is specifically designed for both mobile and tablets, using some of the more advanced aspects of HTML5, including offline storage support.
But Readability also hasn’t fully given up on Apple just yet. They re-submitted their app to try again after hearing talk from no less than Steve Jobs saying the in-app subscription rules were just meant for publishers, and not SaaS apps (which Readability considers itself to be). They have yet to hear back from Apple on the issue. Though it’s a fair thing to expect from Apple’s point of view as the in-app purchase option is lot more user friendly, Apple needs to rethink its stance as taking a 30% cut seems to be unreasonable for services like Readability.