The cloud fallout from Apple's Subscriptiongate

Apple limits its market and channels for the emerging SaaS space by banning SaaS apps from its App Store

As reported in The Register, "the increasingly convoluted morass of Apple's latest App Store Guidelines -- notably whether SaaS (software-as-a-service) apps are now verboten in the sacred store -- has prompted what may be a response from Steve Jobs himself: 'We created subscriptions for publishing apps, not SaaS apps.'"

I suspect you can always go to the browser and do your business, but the convenience of using the App Store means it's a good option for many small application providers. Indeed, for many application companies, the App Store is the only way they market and sell their products.

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Those who sell SaaS apps are a bit confused by Apple's recent, controversial subscriptions move, and I understand why. The App Store is a popular way to purchase applications. Without access to the App Store, those who sell SaaS applications won't get access to a huge and growing marketplace.

Moreover, the logic behind this move is not, well, logical. There is no reason why Apple should restrict applications just because they are SaaS-based. Its rival, Google, will do just the opposite and promote the use of all applications, SaaS or client-based. At least Google understands the issues around its own business and that applications are slowly but surely moving to a SaaS-based model.

However, we've been here before in terms of Apple limiting what content can be inside an application and what an application can do within Apple's environment. This is why people jailbreak their iPhones. Apple makes the decision at the end of the day, and as long as people keep purchasing its products (including me) and buying apps from the App Store (also me), everyone else will just have to deal.

Still, the result is not good for Apple users or for cloud developers: Apple is sending the message that those application builders moving to a SaaS model will limit their options because they can't be sold in some places. Thus, many smaller companies that can't maintain two code trees will find that they will miss an emerging space as they are forced to choose the here and now of the Apple App Store over the future of the cloud.

This article, "The cloud fallout from Apple's Subscriptiongate," originally appeared at Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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