Remember the geeks

A quick followup to my last post about not ignoring minorities. A new policy seems to force third-party content sellers to also sell through Apple’s in-purchase mechanisms if they sell through other means. So, for example, Amazon would have to sell through their app as well as letting you buy through their website.

Without offering any comment on the policy itself, I can see this playing out a couple of ways:

  • Sellers continue to sell through their own websites, but add 25-30% on top for sales made through their iOS apps. This will annoy either customers (who will be angry at paying more), Apple (who might protest if app makers vary pricing on their in-app stores) or both.
  • Some content providers leave the App store, trying to force Apple to change.
  • Some new content providers never come to the App store and try their hand elsewhere.

No matter how it plays out, this is going to be seen as yet another money grab by some techs, bloggers and so on. Some of them are more likely to influence their friends and relatives not to buy an iPad or an iPhone because “Apple is evil/greedy”. Many small policies can — rightly or wrongly — add up to a much larger impression. (It’s been a joke on The IT Crowd: “I’ll be able to get an iPhone without giving any money to Apple: I’ll be living the dream.”)

Salespeople have monetary incentive to sell non-iPhone devices already through a different commission structure. I already know someone who was pushed away from an iPhone to an Android because a salesperson convinced her to, and she’s not alone. If people don’t study technology, they’ll get information from third-party sources: media, friends, salespeople. Maybe they don’t care too much about the salespeople, but the techies? The media? If Apple gets them offside — rightly or wrongly — then that’s a problem.