European Publishers Squawking Over Apple Pickpocket Rules


UPDATE: The scheduled launch of News Corp.’s iPad app The Daily, referred to in the post below, has been put off — “for weeks, not months” — according to a report by All Things Digital, the Wall Street Journal‘s tech blog, which is owned by News Corp. The launch delay may be related to issues with the recurring subscription functionality of iOS 4.3 (referred to in the post), according to the All Things Digital report.

Apple may be trying to pickpocket subscription revenue from European publishers, according to separate reports issued Friday.

Under new rules regarding publishers’ apps running on iPad, print subscribers to European newspapers will no longer have access to iOS apps allowing them to read content for free on their iPads, according to the reports. By offering free apps to print subscribers, newspapers avoid giving Apple 30% of the revenue they would earn by requiring subscribers to pay for access to content through apps sold in the App Store.

The supposed restrictions come amid speculation over the kinds of subscription functionality the next iteration of iOS firmware may support. The iOS 4.3 beta was seeded to developers this week.

Some believe the next iOS build will permit recurring App Store software subscriptions, a prototype for which could be the rumored joint venture between Apple and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., The Daily , which could be the topic of an event scheduled Jan. 19, at which rumors have Murdoch and Apple CEO Steve Jobs appearing together.

Thus far, no similar complaints have issued from US publishers and it seems strange, at best, Apple would feel entitled either to a cut of publishers’ print subscription revenue or to dictate whether publishers’ had to charge for apps developed for the App Store.