SkyDrive for iOS: Microsoft Rebelling Against App Store Subscription Fees

Have you been waiting for Microsoft to update their cloud storage app, SkyDrive, to fix that irritating bug keeping you from downloading multiple files? Well, Microsoft is not ignorant to your plight. It is quite the opposite. Apparently, Apple won’t let Microsoft update its software because the latter is accepting subscriptions within the app and not paying the iOS fee for it.

It is well known that Apple charges 30 percent to developers for all app downloads, plus subscriptions and in-app purchases. Microsoft tried to circumvent that fee when it started offering additional storage space at an additional charge. Once Apple got wind of the in-app subscription option, they stopped allowing updates to SkyDrive.

According to unnamed sources who spoke with TheNextWeb, there is currently a new version of SkyDrive that does fix the crash bug, but Microsoft can’t get it approved because of the in-app purchase option.

Microsoft doesn’t want to pay Apple for the service because the 30 percent cut will continue, even if the user transfers to a different operating system. That is, the monthly charge for additional storage through the iOS SkyDrive app would stay on Apple’s books for as long as the subscriber paid for the account, even if the subscriber switches to an Android-based phone. Sounds unreasonable, right?

Apple lays out its guidelines for in-app revenue pretty clearly. “Apps utilizing a system other than the In App Purchase API (IAP) to purchase content, functionality, or services in an app will be rejected. Apps that unlock or enable additional features or functionality with mechanisms other than the App Store will be rejected.” So Microsoft knew better when it signed up for iOS.

According to TheNextWeb, Microsoft offered to remove subscription options from within the app, and having users pay for the additional storage somewhere else. Apple rejected the offer because it still conflicts with the company’s policy.

Apparently, Apple is even making things difficult for developers who include SkyDrive compatibility in their apps. TheNextWeb cited two developers whose apps were rejected by Apple for including sign-in buttons for SkyDrive. Apple told one developer that, “The log in interface must be native and not a link or a web view.”

There doesn’t seem to be any way for both parties to compromise in this situation. Apple may be unreasonable in its demand of 30 percent of revenue under circumstances like these, but Microsoft knew what they were getting into when they decided to make an app for iOS.

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