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Vodafone attack Apple subscription fees

February 16, 2011

Mobile phone makers Vodafone have become the latest company to slam new rules that allow Apple to take a 30 percent cut for newspaper subscriptions made through iTunes. Vittorio Colao, Vodafone’s chief executive, spoke about the contentious issue during the Mobile World Congress trade event being held in Barcelona, Spain, this week.

Previously, publishers have been able to avoid Apple’s 30 percent share in subscriptions by only allowing subscriptions to be purchased directly from their websites. But in what has been described by as Coloa as a “walled garden”, all magazine and newspaper publishers must not allow sales through the Apple medium.

Downloads for iPads and iPods are becoming more popular, with Apple’s iTunes system the chief way to purchase apps. Publishers must offer the same prices for iTunes downloads under the new rules, but Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, claims the system is fair as his company will only take a cut for subscribers that come to the app through iTunes. Otherwise, the publisher keeps 100 percent of the revenue.

At the event in Barcelona, however, Mr Colao urged the industry to make a case for openness and say no to closed dominant systems. He added that it is ironic that a telecoms company, which in the past has been accused of running closed networks, it the one to champion the rights of content producers.

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