The AppStore And The Alamo

Last week while Mobile World Congress was taking place, Apple launched its revised subscription agreement on the AppStore forcing all third party vendors to pay 30% on the content that flows through iOS apps even after initial purchase. Understandably, the world revolted with all sorts of public letters to Apple arguing about why 30% was too much to allow for continued innovation on the iOS platform.

What happens next will come to be known as Apple’s Alamo moment. For those that don’t remember their US history, the Battle of the Alamo was the moment during which the US didn’t lose Texas to Mexico thanks to the fact that a lot of Texans were moved to dig in and fight hard because of the feeling that Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana had gone too far and been too brutal in his handling of the two week siege on Texan soil.

If Apple prevails in forcing all in-app payments (for content or otherwise) to go through its 30% tax, we’re looking at a world where others will likely follow suit soon enough. On the bright side, the web will become more “monetizable” than it has ever been before (watch what happens with Facebook credits for instance)— albeit by the platform vendors. If on the other hand, Apple backs down in the face of all of the cries of “unfair,” we’ll end up right back where we started with the web— with Applandia being nothing more than a curated onramp to the wild west of creative monetization strategies.

I’m rooting for the latter but unlike the web days, this time around I am not optimistic. Why? Well because of the way these communications/media ecosystems develop.

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