Steve Jobs…You can't be serious!

It is my distinct displeasure to share with you this week’s recipient of the  “You Can’t Be Serious Award”… iPad gatekeeper, Mr. Steven Jobs.

Last year, under the guise of offering us freedom (freedom from porn, flash, etc), Mr. Jobs became the iPad/iPhone dictator, decreeing what was appropriate for iPad/iPhone users and what was not.  I was rather surprised by his holier-than-thou declaration, “We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. Folks who want porn can buy an Android phone.” but didn’t pay it a lot mind back then.

But now Apple’s CEO has gone too far.  Apple is now rejecting newspaper applications it used to approve because Mr. Jobs wants a cut of every publisher’s business, citing “Apps utilizing a system other than the In App Purchase API (IAP) to purchase content, functionality, or services in an app will be rejected.”

This story in TownNews.com states pretty well what’s going on…

The nut of the matter is that newspapers or magazines will have to play by Apple’s strict rules – including a 30 percent revenue share – if they want to distribute newspapers via the Apple App Store. Apple also has strict rules about sharing with publishers, information about customers who download newsstand applications.

Apple has made it clear that it won’t approve any apps that try to by-pass Apple’s revenue cut. Newspapers and magazines won’t be able to have any kind of “pay wall” that doesn’t include 30 percent for Apple. Passwords, registrations and other sign-on devices will be barred by the App Store unless Apple gets its cut.

Mr. Jobs sure didn’t have any problem “using” newspapers to sell the iPad at launch time last year. Now he’s doing his best to destroy their business and double-charge their subscribers.

So, what does that mean to you the readers?

It means that you can’t get your newspaper on the iPad without paying Mr. Jobs directly.   Apple will only accept apps that use a 100% “in app purchase model” (i.e. Jobs will control all the money and all the users).  No longer will your publisher be able to offer you a great deal – like bundled print/digital subscriptions. If you’ve purchased your newspaper online (i.e. can read it in Safari on the iPad), you have to pay again for the right to read it as an App on the iPad.  Paying twice for the same content – how ridiculous is that!

What does that mean to publishers?

It means that you cannot run your business the way you want.  Mr. Jobs will charge you 30% for the pleasure of hosting all your valuable content on his servers.  You won’t even know who all your readers are – Mr. Jobs will own your customers and declare “freedom from data piracy” as the justification for stealing what should be rightfully yours.   No other device manufacturer out there tries to control user data.  What gives Apple the right?

It’s really very scary; Mr. Freedom Fighter is showing his megalomaniac stripes.  I guess it should come as no surprise after Apple announced it wanted to do its own newspaper app.  We should have seen it coming that Jobs would find a way to hold publishers hostage – it’s his way or the highway!

European publishers are already getting ready for a legal battle and I expect North America won’t be far behind.  Meanwhile, all we users can do is fight this injustice with our “Freedom of Choice”.  The iPad is a cool device, but the “cost” of “freedom” is too high.

Android is  looking better every day!

Gayle