Thoughts On The Readability Debacle

A lot of talk has been sweeping the web lately in response to Apple’s new terms regarding iOS in-app subscriptions.

The basic way it works is this:

  • Apple now requires all applications with subscriptions be handled via an in-app purchases
  • This means all applications must adhere to the 70 / 30 rule, giving Apple 30% of the revenue of purchases
  • If your application does not meet the guidelines, or tries to circumvent them, they app will be rejected (or later pulled)

News today came from the maker of the Readability app, letting users know their latest update had been rejected because they voilated the new terms of service.

The big problem for Readability is they already give 70% of their revenue to the people who write the content that is viewed on their application.

Going from a 70 / 30 model where Readability only takes a 30% cut, to one where they are required to give Apple 30% does sound pretty harsh, up front. How will they make any money? The more you dig in, though, the more it makes sense.

Apple is giving Readability access to millions upon millions of users, free advertising, and the potential to make a lot of money. Personally, I think they should put in a change to their model where it works with the iOS terms of service. I don’t think end-users would be too miffed to a small change, especially if the change means they can access the site in a native iOS app.

My favorite, though, was this line from The Brooks Review:

If you want to jump on Tommy’s trampoline then you are going to have to be friends with Tommy and that means going to his stupid birthday parties and playing by his rules — but its a freaking trampoline so its worth it.

Basically, if you want to use their services, you have to play by their rules. But, I’d guess that often, playing by their rules has the bigger reward in the long run.



Ian Hines

The Brooks Review

Readability Blog


My Grown Up Christmas List

Broken down by price, the ultimate gift guide:

$0 to $10: CRKT Eat-n-tool Multi tool. This thing is just awesome. I can always be ready to eat and fix things – all the time. AND I can hang it off my keyring.

$11 to $100: iTunes Gift Card. I want music from Safety Suit and Weaver at the Loom, among others…

$101 to $1000: Apple iPad 16GB WiFi. Needs no explanation. It’s even for sale right now at $70 off…

$1001 to $5000: Apple Macbook Air. Again, needs no explanation. It even comes in an 11-inch model for under $1000…

$5001 to $10,000: Ural Patrol Motorcycle. Ok, so maybe it’s $12,400 for this bike. But admit, it’s totally awesome. Can’t you see me and Malachi riding around town in it?

$10,001 to $25,000: Toyota Sienna. This would actually be a present that my wife would end up using most of the time, but hey, that’s fine with me.

So there you have it. My grown up Christmas list. I’m secretly hoping just for the CRKT multi tool. Cause I want to be able to carry a spork everywhere I go.

iOS vs Android

Can we stop with this debate already? Do people really think iPhone vs Android is the new Apple vs Windows? Does it even matter?

Even though Apple fell in popularity to Windows a long time ago, they have always made the better product. That is why Windows is now a carbon copy of Mac OS. The same applies to the smartphone battle of today.

Better product = happier, longer lasting customers.

Android might be beating iOS in smartphone sales now, but don’t forget Apple has also limited the iPhone to only one (current) model, and limited carriers around the world. What if that changed? What if Apple opened up iOS to any phone manufacturer who wanted it? My guess is they’d KILL Android. Don’t forget they also have the largest product launch in the history of time with iPhone 4, and also still hold 39% of the global market in gross profit.

When you look at those stats, even with Android at the top spot in smartphones sales, who wins?