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Apple, Google offer dueling subscription plans

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To much gnashing of cyber teeth, Apple Inc. last month unveiled the terms of its subscription service for content such as magazines and newspapers available for apps on the App Store. Through this digital subscription billing service, which is the same one being used by News Corp.'s iPad app, The Daily, Apple processes all payments and retains a 30% share as it does on all in-store app purchases, according to the company.

“Our philosophy is simple: When Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30% share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100% and Apple earns nothing,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement.

Several aspects of the Apple announce-ment caused controversy in the blogosphere. Most prominent, publishers do not have guaranteed access to data on people who purchase the app via the App Store; subscribers can, however, opt to provide that information to publishers. 

Additionally, Apple said publishers may not provide links in their apps allowing customers to purchase subscriptions or content outside of the app.

During a speech in Berlin the day after Apple's announcement, Google CEO Eric Schmidt introduced the Google One Pass, a service that allows publishers to sell their content via tablets, smartphones and websites.

The Google One Pass, which is powered by Google's Checkout service, has two main differences from Apple's offering. First, Schmidt said Google would charge about a10% commission on subscriptions sold through its service, compared with Apple's 30%, according to a Bloomberg News report. Second, Google will allow publishers to gain easier access to subscriber data.

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