Apple, magazine publishers reach deal for subscriptions on iPadPeople became the first print magazine to offer subscribers free access to its iPad application Thursday, apparently paving the way for others to follow.
According to Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Fortune, Time Inc. broke the impasse that has existed for months between publishers and Apple. He said that Time's other publications are expected to follow the same path as People in the next 30 days, including Fortune, Time, and Sports Illustrated.
"It's not clear what took so long," Elmer-DeWitt wrote. "Publishers who were encouraged to build iPad apps by Steve Jobs himself say they were ready from the start to make them free to subscribers. Until now, however, Apple would neither give them the tools they needed, nor explain what was holding them up."
He added: "The publishers still can't sell subscriptions through the App Store, which is how they would prefer to do it."
Last month, it was noted that Time and other magazine publishers were frustrated as they were blocked from allowing subscribing customers the ability to access a digital version of the magazine on the IPad. Publishers said that Apple had rejected the option without explaining its policy.
Users, instead, were left only to pay the $4.99-per-issue newsstand price of publications like Sports Illustrated, which led to extremely negative reviews on the App Store.
Magazine officials were surprised by Apple's rejection, as the company made a major effort to reach out to them and others. Officials were reportedly under the impression that subscription plans were acceptable to Apple.
Some iPad App Store software, such as Amazon's Kindle, or The Wall Street Journal's application, allow for customers to be charged directly instead of buying an application. But other content providers, like The New York Times, have yet to offer digital subscriptions.
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