updated 10:00 am EDT, Mon May 2, 2011
Cheaper rates require private info, auto-renewal
A reported deal between Apple and Time Inc. has been confirmed, notes Fortune. People downloading the Time iPad app can now get digital issues at no extra cost in tandem with a US print subscription. Non-subscribers must still pay a cost of $5 for each new issue.
In exchange for free digital issues, however, people must also hand over their name, address and credit card number, and agree to a print-standard automatic renewal of their subscription. Apple's resistance to permitting the combined "automatic renewal feature" is believed to have been one of the main reasons why publishers have avoided implementing in-app subscriptions. Previously subscribers had to explicitly agree to share private details with a publisher unless they paid through the publisher directly.
Magazine and newspaper creators have also had a problem with Apple's parity policies. While a company can claim all of the revenue from a subscription if it's paid for outside of the app, Apple demands an equivalent in-app subscription option from which it claims 30 percent of revenue. Despite this, in-app prices are not allowed to be any higher than outside ones. The FTC has been investigating whether or not Apple may be violating antitrust laws.