Apple, being the juggernaut that it is, is known to be pretty ruthless when it comes to its rules and policies. This is reflected by the numerous lawsuits that we see being slapped by the company, and the number of developers stuck in limbo because of its app submission policies. We’ll speak about the latter today as the company seems to be having tough time negotiating with Microsoft over the SkyDrive app and the revenues generated by it. Apple basically wants a 30% cut of Microsoft’s revenues made from the SkyDrive app when users opt for paid subscription of the online cloud storage service. Microsoft seems to be disagreeing with Apple over this, as it doesn’t intend to give Apple a slice of its revenues. And due to this, Apple seems to have barred Microsoft from updating its SkyDrive app on iOS.
The last known update of SkyDrive for iOS was made in June, and Microsoft claims that it has a few big fixes ready with the new update which is being held up all thanks to Apple. According to The Next Web The main concern for Microsoft with the 30% policy is that many users would continue with the service for a couple of years and Apple would still get its cut irrespective of which device the user is using at that time. This is because, making any purchases within the app utilizes the Apple Account, and it is very unlikely that a SkyDrive user would cancel his subscription and reapply when switching to a new device as it would make no difference to the user. Microsoft is raising some serious concerns, which Apple clearly seems to ignore. It must be noted that it’s not only the official SkyDrive app that has been plagued by this, but also developers who have third party SkyDrive apps are being barred from updating their apps.
One can argue that Apple being the owner of its products is within its full rights to make companies/developers adhere to its rules and regulations. But it would behoove Apple to make some exceptions to its otherwise insane rules, so as to accommodate for the thousands of users who use the app. New users are given 7GB of free SkyDrive storage, which will obviously require some expanding for some users. Microsoft only recently introduced the ability to purchase additional storage right within the application, and hasn’t been allowed to make updates ever since. Microsoft could possibly remove the ability to buy additional storage while within the app, but that seems unlikely in the current scenario.
TNW claims that Microsoft had in fact offered to remove the ability to get SkyDrive subscription from within the app, which was flatly rejected by Apple. Microsoft can remove the application entirely from the AppStore, but that won’t solve the problem which is faced by third party app developers. Developers’ cries have been voiced on several forums, without much affect. Apple went through a similar mess with Dropbox where apps using the Dropbox SDK were rejected as it redirected users to make purchases out of the application and not as Apple would want (in-app purchases). Developers ultimately had to remove the feature to make purchases altogether to get their apps approved. But things are different with Microsoft, unsurprisingly.
What do you think should be the solution to this? Microsoft isn’t a small player in the cloud storage arena, and losing them won’t be a viable option for Apple. But it seems like we’re pretty much headed in that direction. We wonder what’s going to happen with the Office for iOS application which is slated to arrive early next year. And since it is believed to utilize Office 365 subscriptions, it should also have the ability to buy subscriptions, unless Apple doesn’t want users to do that.