Google Gets in the Subscription Game with One Pass

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Google introduced its own online subscription service dubbed One Pass on Wednesday, just a day after Apple opened up its subscription feature to iOS app developers. For now, it appears that One Pass may offer publishers more flexibility than Apple’s subscription service.

Consumers will be able to take advantage of One Pass subscriptions with their existing Google login, and publishers will be able to offer traditional subscriptions, along with one-off articles, metered content access, and “freemium” content. The content users access via One Pass will be available to them in on Web sites, tablet devices and smartphones that support the feature without requiring re-subscription.

Google wants in on the online subscription game

“Our goal is to provide an open and flexible platform that furthers our commitment to support publishers, journalism and access to quality content,” said Google Commerce business product manager Lee Sharani.

According to Google, publishers can take advantage of One Pass’s flexibility to find the best sale strategy.

In comparison, Apple’s subscription service for iOS devices requires in-app sign up support if there’s a Web site where users can also sign up, publishers can’t include external link to their subscription sites in their app, and they must offer as good as or better offers in-app as they don on their Web sites.

Apple takes a 30 percent cut off the top of in-app purchases and subscriptions. Google didn’t say, however, how much of a cut it plans on taking from One Pass purchases.

Publishers in the U.S., Canada, U.K. France, Germany, Spain and Italy can start taking advantage of One Pass now, and several companies such as Axel Springer AG, Focus Online, Stern.de, Popular Science, Media General, NouvelObs, Prisa and Rust Communications are already on board.

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Comments

geoduck

Good.
Competition will allow the market to settle on a natural level. Terms that are least onerous to all involved.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Sure, if Apple allows iOS apps to use One Pass. But we know that won’t happen without EU regulators sniffing around.

I can guarantee one thing about One Pass. Google will not turn it into an exclusive toll booth. If developers and publishers want to use it, Google’s attitude will be “great”. If they don’t, Google won’t put up silly walls to make them use it. That difference alone from the Apple way of doing things will attract many publishers to voluntarily put a few of their eggs in the Google basket.

jfbiii

What google wants is more traffic, not more revenue for content providers/creators/developers. Instead of helping publishers turn their content into the product, they’re just pushing the existing publishing model (consumers are the product, not the content) down the chain.

Smart publishers will avail themselves of the opportunity to break the cycle and sell content again.

Nemo

So now we know that what in principle Google too will charge a commission and require that you sell on its service, if you market on its service.  So in principle that is the same for both Google and Apple.  The only difference in principle is the price. 

However, that is where the similarities end.  For both Google and Apple, the end user must sign up for an account, but with Google, pursuant to the terms of its very intrusive privacy policy, Google can and will share a user’s personal info with publishers, unless a user opts-out.  With Apple, pursuant to its privacy policy, Apple can’t simply fork over user’s private info without the user’s informed consent, so Apple requires that publisher/developer get the user’s informed consent to acquire and use his personal data according to their respective privacy policies, which they must disclose prior to the user consenting to give his personal data.

For publishers, there are also major differences.  Since in-app purchases are only supported in more recent version of Android, I think from Froyo (version 2.2) forward, most of the existing Android phones can’t do in-app purchases and probably never will be able to do in-app purchases.  In an effort to compensate for this significant deficiency, Google must allow publishers to link to their own respective websites to complete any purchase or subscription, yet publishers must still go thorough Google’s payment system and get user’s personal data from Google.  See supra.  So the end user is subjected to a kind of privacy gang bang, where Google and publishers take the user’s private info and use it according to their respective privacy policies, which in the case of Google and most publisher let them do what they please with the user’s personal info—unless the user opts-out.

So from the point of view of both publishers and users, Google’s hastily announced response to Apple’s new subscription policy is most likely to be deficient for the foregoing reasons, which for users includes being subjected to one the most intrusive privacy policies in the business, that is, Google’s policy, and being obliged for most of them to complete their purchases on a remote website; for publishers, though they get a cheaper commission with Google, they pay for that with a cheaper service, one that for most phones can’t do in-app purchases and which, unlike the iOS devices, only works in the limited regions of the United States, Canada, and certain European countries.

All in all Google isn’t yet able to offer either publishers or users an alternative to Apple’s in-app subscriptions, and for users, Google’s services, which pays the rent by selling its users’ personal data, will almost certainly never, absent government regulation, afford similar protections for a users’ privacy.  Publishers, however, at some point in the future may get from Google an in-app subscription method that is roughly equivalent to Apple’s.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

So now we know that what in principle Google too will charge a commission and require that you sell on its service, if you market on its service.? So in principle that is the same for both Google and Apple.? The only difference in principle is the price.?

WTF? How is that even remotely the same, unless you’re comparing Google’s One Pass service with Apple’s iOS? With One Pass, I am still allowed to offer 50 other in-app purchasing options, as well as external purchasing options, and I don’t have to make the One Pass price the best price. Nemo, I am truly at a loss for how such a brilliant litigator like you can miss such an obvious distinction, and this dismiss the differences in implications of use of the respective services.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

For publishers, there are also major differences.? Since in-app purchases are only supported in more recent version of Android, I think from Froyo (version 2.2) forward, most of the existing Android phones can?t do in-app purchases and probably never will be able to do in-app purchases.

Not true. 58.4% of Android phones in use as of Feb 2, 2011 who access the Marketplace (and this could actually have some means of making an in-app purchase) run Android 2.2 or later.

paikinho

Seems like google is offering another service for magazines. Yeah competition.

Nemo

Well, that is interesting to know, because with Apple’s service, there is no limit whatsoever on the number of third-party in-app purchase options and options to purchase elsewhere that a publisher/developer can use.  So you are right:  I missed that Apple affords publisher/developers even greater freedom to compete with the App Store’s in-app subscription.  But in the principle of charging a commission for selling on their respective app stores and in requiring that those who market on their stores sell on their stores, Apple and Google are the same.

However, I hope that you are wrong about Google attempting to limit in-app purchases to any definite number of third-party options—and I assume that you are referring to third-party options—because the DOJ won’t stand for such a patent restraint of trade and attempt to monopolize.

Assuming that you are right, are you really crowing about 58.4% as something to be proud about?  That is pathetic.  If that happened at Apple, there would be another sighting of Steve Jobs at Apple campus, carrying a gun to summarily execute the person or persons responsible for only 54.8% of iPhone having the latest OS updates, and not the remainder either not being capable of being updated or won’t be updated because Android is too fragmented for the carriers and Google to ever be able to update them.  That for publishers is what is referred to in the military as FUBAR. 

And you have to deal with the penchant of users of the Market Place to not pay for apps and even engage is substantial pirating of apps.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Well, that is interesting to know, because with Apple?s service, there is no limit whatsoever on the number of third-party in-app purchase options and options to purchase elsewhere that a publisher/developer can use.

Wrong again. Apple only allows in-app purchases for iOS apps via Apple.

I’m not crowing about anything. I just think we should debate merits of these things with facts in hand.

Here’s another fact. Google non-exclusive doucheless? subscription system is gonna take 10%.

BTW, Apple could implement in-app purchases in Android apps without nary a complaint from Google. Yet One Pass will not be approved for iOS. Customers lose.

paikinho

most of the existing Android phones can?t do in-app purchases and probably never will be able to do in-app purchases.
———-
But they are lagging technology, within a year 120 million or so android devices will do in-app and out of app purchases just fine.

How about iPhone 1 and 2’s in apples app store?

This is about the future.

It seems that google’s one pass is a flexible system from what I read just now.

Nemo

No:  Apple permits, as under the law it must, for any developer/publisher to use in-app purchase on Android’s Market Place, such as it is, and any other method of online or offline distribution that he/it chooses. 

Apple can, of course, regulate its own App Store.  But if an iOS user wants to use One Pass, he can readily do so through his device’s browser, as Google expressly provides that capability.  So the customer loses nothing but his privacy.

And Google’s douchless system will take only 10%.  That must be because of the limited geographic scope of the Market Place’s in-app subscriptions, Google’s inability to timely update version of its Android OS, the Market Place’s well earned reputation for a porous DRM model, and the other limitations of the Android platform.  But I am sure that Google’s new CEO, Mr. Page, is working tirelessly to eliminate those limitations.

And why on earth would Apple want to do in-app purchases in the Market Place?  Apple and Google are competitors, are they not?  And, in the App Store, Apple has the leading app store in the world, leading by every relevant measures of performance and features.  While I can understand why Google would want to get on the insanely successful App Store to do in-app sales, because Google, by its own admission, is doing so poorly selling apps for money in Android’s Market Place and because in-app purchases actually work in the App Store wherever iOS devices are sold, Apple, of course, wouldn’t permit its principal rival to sell in its App Store, any more than WallMart would permit Target to sell in its stores.

Nemo

In fact, if Apple were to permit Google to sell on its App Store and/or if Google were to permit Apple to sell on its Market Place, that would draw quick and intense antitrust scrutiny from regulators.  Such agreements, depending on their terms, have in the past been held to be agreements not to compete in restrain of trade in violation of the Sherman and Clayton Acts.  And since Google and Apple would permit such cross-selling on their respective stores only on terms that would benefit them to injury of competition and other competitors’ ability to compete, Apple and/or Google appearing on each other’s app store would, to pass antitrust scrutiny, have to be structured, if it could be structured at all, in ways the neither Apple or Google would find attractive.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

No:? Apple permits, as under the law it must, for any developer/publisher to use in-app purchase on Android?s Market Place, such as it is, and any other method of online or offline distribution that he/it chooses.?

More horse-shillabit obfuscation, pardom my Dog Latin.

1. In-app purchases.
Apple: in app purchases that do no leave the app may only be done through Apple’s in-app mechanism.

Google: in app purchases that do not leave the app may be done with any mechanism including One Pass.

2. Out of app purchases.
Apple: if you offer out-of-app purchases, you must offer in-app purchases (using only Apple’s mechanism) at equal or better price.

Google: No requirement to offer in-app purchases if out-of-app purchases are offered.

3. On our turf
Apple: Google would not be allowed to offer One Pass purchases in-app from any iOS app.

Google: Apple would, of course, be allowed to offer App Store purchases in-app from any Android app.

4. Kindle and Sony Reader

Apple: Reader is not welcome unless it offers in-app purchases through App Store at the same or lower price as out-of-app purchases and pays us 30%. Kindle will not be welcome after July 30 unless it offers in-app purchases through App Store at the same or lower price as out-of-app purchases and pays us 30%.

Google: Reader and Kindle are welcome on Android. Period.

—————
The part I love about this is that Apple will not back away or change course. That would be showing weakness, and how could they stand being so easily and quickly owned by Google? Apple is stuck with this latest turd that Steve Jobs left in his bedpan. And you guys (led by MG Siegler and John Gruber) are stuck defending it, lest your Apple-loving credentials be revoked.

Good times!

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

In fact, if Apple were to permit Google to sell on its App Store and/or if Google were to permit Apple to sell on its Market Place, that would draw quick and intense antitrust scrutiny from regulators.

More horse-shillabit. Google’s apps (Translate anyone?!?) are given away on Apple’s App Store. Google has no guidelines whatsoever that would prohibit Apple giving away or selling apps on Marketplace. Nor does Google have any guidelines which would restrict Apple from offering an in-app purchasing mechanism for Android apps distributed through Marketplace.

paikinho

Google has no guidelines whatsoever that would prohibit Apple giving away or selling apps on Marketplace. Nor does Google have any guidelines which would restrict Apple from offering an in-app purchasing mechanism for Android apps distributed through Marketplace.
————-
Not sure what your point is on this.

Apple has only a few apps which they do themselves and they are developed for iOS. I haven’t hear of any apple created android apps so far.

Apple chooses to run their store differently. No problem with that really. People buying an iOS device know that they will have to purchase or download free at the App store and yet they choose to do it all the same.

Google’s apps for Apples app store may be given away, but not because google is generous, it is because selling the apps might not get what their real goal is, tie in’s to advertising revenue. Selling Google apps doesn’t make them as much money as giving them away. That is why they are giving away Android OS. Selling it would not be as effective in achieving ubiquity and loads of potential advertising revenue. They are pursuing a different path than is Apple.

Both methods have been effective.

paikinho

The part I love about this is that Apple will not back away or change course. That would be showing weakness, and how could they stand being so easily and quickly owned by Google? Apple is stuck with this latest turd that Steve Jobs left in his bedpan. And you guys (led by MG Siegler and John Gruber) are stuck defending it, lest your Apple-loving credentials be revoked.
————

Firstly you continue to misunderstand that this is business. Apple or any other business will change what it is doing based upon market data. If the data and revenues are unfavorable, they will come up with a different strategy.

Secondly. Google is reacting to Apples move with a strong move of their own. They realize that they need to come up with a strategy to compete. Apple may have to adjust what they do based upon Google’s strategies. This is simple business 101.

You keep thinking that Apple is perpetually authoritarian and intransigent. “Apple will never back down or change course.” What are you talking about? All companies have to react and do react to competition. What makes Apple so exceptional that they never have to react to anything in the market?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Not sure what your point is on this.

My point is that Nemo makes crap up in some weird effort to try to establish that Google operates exactly how Apple does when Google does not.

And no, Apple will not adjust. They will dig in and fight. They reflect the personality of their ailing CEO, who once held up an audience he was supposed to appear before because one of the staffers bought him the wrong brand of bottled water.

This is an especially dangerous time for Apple, its customers, and its partners. Jobs is acting more and more like he will not have to deal with consequences or results of what he puts into place.

How the hell do you explain this to the CEO of Rhapsody, who invested to put their music catalog on iOS under the “rules” of the time, and now doesn’t have 30% to give? This isn’t business that Apple is doing. It’s being a giant jerk. It’s not staying in their lane. It’s making permanent enemies.

paikinho

How the hell do you explain this to the CEO of Rhapsody, who invested to put their music catalog on iOS under the ?rules? of the time, and now doesn?t have 30% to give? This isn?t business that Apple is doing.
————-
It’s exactly business. Business is not for the faint of heart. Each side looks out for its own interests. There are no friends or enemies. That is a human concept. Business is about competition and profit. Apple apparently can play hard ball.

Ethan

“So now we know that what in principle Google too will charge a commission and require that you sell on its service, if you market on its service.”

Nemo-where the hell did you get THAT from? I see no statement anywhere saying that publishers HAVE to use their payment system if you have an Android Market app and want in app sales.

BurmaYank

“So now we know that what (sic) in principle Google too will charge a commission and require that you sell on its service, if you market on its service.? So in principle that is the same for both Google and Apple.”

Nemo-where the hell did you get THAT from? I see no statement anywhere saying that publishers HAVE to use their payment system if you have an Android Market app and want in app sales.


Ethan, it seems to me that Nemo got what he was saying there from here:

“Here?s another fact. Google non-exclusive doucheless? subscription system is gonna take 10%.”

Not so?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

BurmaYank, please explain where that link says Google will require any behavior to use One Pass. It ain’t there because Google doesn’t work that way. People are free to come and go.

BurmaYank

BurmaYank, please explain where that link says Google will require any behavior to use One Pass.

Touch?!  I concede that Nemo actually did raise these two separate issues which he described as, “...the same for both Google and Apple…”, when he said:?

So now we know that what (sic) in principle
  1) Google too will charge a commission and
  2) require that you sell on its service, if you market on its service.

So in principle that is the same for both Google and Apple.? The only difference in principle is the price.”?

And I concede that only on the first issue (”... Google too will charge a commission…”) is Nemo obviously correct in saying, ‘So in principle that is the same for both Google and Apple.? The only difference in principle is the price.”

Ethan

BurmaYank, the difference in principle is that Google says:
- here is a payment option we created
- you can use it if you want
- you can use another competing payment system if you want
- If you use it we aren’t forcing you to give us the best price anywhere, so you can differentiate your offerings
- If you use it we will take 10% (20% less than Apple)

So there is a vastly different and more open set of choices a publisher makes BEFORE they get to the point that “the only difference in principle is the price.”

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