Apple v Google – Round 949594: Subscriptions

Lots of media converage around the respective announcements from Apple and Google about their new subscription/payment services for publishers looking to charge customers for their content or products.

Here are the key points from both announcements.


1.       When Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns 30% share

2.       When the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100% and Apple 0%  (BUT NOTE #6)

a.       Publisher will need to build their own authentication system for this

3.       If you sell a digital subscription outside of the app, that same subscription offer must be made available, at the same price or less, to App Store customers

4.       Publishers can no longer provide links within their apps that would allow the customer to purchase content or subscriptions outside of the app

5.       Subscriptions purchased from within the App Store will be sold using the same App Store billing system

a.       Publishers set the price and length of subscription (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, bi-yearly or yearly).

b.      Customers pick the length of subscription and are automatically charged based on their chosen length of commitment

6.       Customers can review and manage all of their subscriptions from their personal account page, including canceling the automatic renewal of a subscription

a.       Apple processes all payments, keeping the same 30 percent share that it does today for other in-App Purchases (ie this becomes a transaction fee, not just a purchase fee)

7.       Customers purchasing a subscription through the App Store will be given the option of providing the publisher with their name, email address and zip code

a.       Use of such information will be governed by the publisher’s privacy policy rather than Apple’s

b.      Publishers may seek additional information from App Store customers provided those customers are given a clear choice and are informed that any additional information will be handled under the publisher’s privacy policy rather than Apple’s.


1.     Google will share all customer information with the publisher upon subscription

2.     Google lets publishers sell different packages to app and online and paper subscribers, at different prices3.     Multiple paywall options supported

4.     Google only charges 10% commission, vs Apple’s 30%

5.     iTunes, unfortunatley, still has zillions more subscribers than Google Checkout

6.    Lastly, Google is not just positioning themselves for app sales, but all sales. Their objective is to be a payment service and not just an “App store payment gateway”.


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