We put our faith in Apple and they screwed us. This happened even though we went to great lengths to clear our plans with Apple because we did not want to make this substantial investment of time and money blindly. Apple’s response to our detailed inquiries was to tell us that our plans did not infringe their rules in any way, which was true at the time, but there is one little catch. Apple can change the rules at any time and they did. Sadly they must have known full well that they were going to do this. Apple’s iBooks was already in development when we talked to them and they certainly must have known that their future plans would doom us to failure no matter how good our product was. We never really had a chance.
First things first: Apple didn’t “screw” iFlow, and they certainly didn’t screw iFlow. If anything screwed iFlow it was the very thing that drew them to iOS to begin with: the platform success and an evolving business model.
Every good business person knows that in order to be successful in the long term you need to have a flexible business. You need to be able to respond to changing laws and changing environments. So iFlow, Apple didn’t screw you — you screwed yourselves. Linking your success to being able to sell one app in one market screwed you and it can and will happen to others.
To say that Apple screwed iFlow is to also say that Apple directly came after iFlow and said “time to end these guys”. Instead Apple changed a rule that effects everyone in the app store, especially Amazon — not just iFlow. It’s also not fair to say that you cleared it with Apple and that Apple knew they were going to screw you — they likely didn’t know that, at least not the people you talked with. With 50,000 plus employees do you (iFlow) really (naively) believe that all of Apple’s employees were privy to the development of iBooks?
It sucks that iFlow can’t figure out an alternative, but it’s not Apple’s job to help iFlow run their business. The people they should really be pissed at is the publishers not allowing a flexible pricing model for changing distribution methods — but that probably wouldn’t get them on the Hacker News front page.
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