Great take by Ben Brooks on the latest “App Store controversy” in regards to the Dropbox SDK:
Apple is a known quantity, third-party app developers (for the most part) are not known. Consumers don’t know who is behind Instapaper, LLC, App Cubby, Sky Balloon and others. As bloggers we know the people behind the companies, as developers you know or know how to check, as Apple you know, but consumers? They probably don’t even look at who the app is from, they just trust that everything they do within the realm of that app has been OK’d by Apple.
This is the heart of the issue. Consumers don’t, can’t, and shouldn’t have to know the people and motives behind purchases in apps — all consumers should need to do is trust that Apple has done their job vetting all of this.
Aside from political and economical reasons, I do believe Apple also wants to prevent confusion in some areas of the apps that get approved for sale on the App Store.
With Kindle, Dropbox, and all those other services whose browser-based “buy” button was embedded within an iOS view, of course Apple wanted to drive its own business by enforcing the 70/30 revenue split model. It is a business, and Apple runs it like they want to.
But at the same time, maybe there’s another side of the coin we’re not considering. Often, we, as iOS nerds, debate that the removal of links and Buy buttons is “stupid” and “silly”. But let’s consider the opposite scenario: for the average consumer, if anything goes wrong with Amazon’s purchase system inside the iOS app, the blame is going to fall upon Apple, which “approved the app, so I assumed it was okay”.
The average consumer doesn’t know the technical differences between web views, native views, and Review Guidelines, so unless they want to play by Apple’s rules (the “cut”), third-party services will have to avoid extra confusion.
Which means getting rid of the buy links.