Readability

The cost of Apple's 'greed tax'

February 22, 2011: 7:27 AM ET

Growing developer unrest draws a clarification -- of sorts -- from Steve Jobs

REJECTED: Readability's iOS apps

When it looked like Apple's (AAPL) new subscription model was aimed at magazine publishers in New York City, nobody west of the Hudson River seemed to mind.

That changed almost overnight when someone in Cupertino rejected an app for the iPhone and iPad submitted by Readability, a Web service developed in conjunction with Instapaper that offers reformatted articles -- stripped of ads and other distractions -- and shares its revenue with the authors and publishers.

"We believe that your new policy smacks of greed," wrote Rich Ziade, Readability's creator, in an open letter to Apple that was quickly seconded in a blog post by Instapaper's Marco Arment, a writer and developer whose opinion carries a lot of weight in the Apple community.

The shifting tide was succinctly captured Monday by Cult of Mac's Pete Mortensen in a piece entitled "App Store Subscription Plan Demolishes the Appeal of iOS":

"The broad application of Apple's new App Store subscription guidelines to everything from magazines (sensible) to Kindle books (questionable) to Readability (delusional) to Tiny Grab and possibly DropBox (downright silly) could end up being the single-worst business decision the Cupertino Colossus has made in the last decade."

Perhaps it was talk like that that elicited a response to a MacRumors reader from what appeared to be Steve Jobs' iPhone:

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