SaaS and App Store Subscriptions Not an Issue, Job Says
If you’re a SaaS vendor and you’re worried about offering some iOS services since the recent App Store subscription guidelines, don’t worry. You’re in the clear, according to Steve Jobs.
If you’re not up to speed on the latest App Store controversy, here it is in a nutshell: in-App Store subscriptions are now available on iOS devices, and Apple gets a cut. Developers who don’t want Apple to take a cut can offer their iOS subscriptions outside the App Store, but they still have to provide an in-App Store subscription button. And they can’t price their outside-iOS subscription lower than the in-App one. That’s some tough strong-arming from Apple, but those are the rules inside the walled garden.
Some software developers were worried that this might translate over to SaaS subscriptions as well, so a MacRumors reader e-mailed Steve Jobs and got the scoop (please excuse the many typos in the following):
As a full time iOS developer, I am concerned (and confused) withe the new App Store guideline regarding “Apps offering subscriptions” (section 11.12).
Most of the iOS apps I have developed, as a contractor for other businesses, have been free apps that had login screens to allow the user access to some amount of private data. and/or service. These businesses have all been well established companies that sell some kind of service to their customers (Software As a Service companies) and the iOS app was merely another “portal” for their users to access their data/services (in many times, in a limited i.e. “mobile” fashion)…. for example; SalesForce. I am concerned that most of these businesses will choose to not develop an iOS app for their customers if the IAP & subscription policy was in place.
Would these type’s of free apps be still be allowed in the App Store or will they now be expected to use IAP?
Steve Jobs replied,
We created subscriptions for publishing apps, not SaaS apps.
Sent from my iPhone
Ah, the Zen of Steve Jobs. Short, simple, to the point, and from his iPhone.
The App Store guidelines do specifically mention “publishers of content,” so companies such as SalesForce and DropBox and SaaS-related apps such as Evernote should be completely in the clear to keep all their revenue. That should evoke a collective sigh of relief for ISVs and other channel software vendors who are looking to create and position iOS platforms that would be based around SaaS.