Apple Plays Hardball with Microsoft’s Skydrive, Blocks iOS Update

Apple has put on its unyielding face in a seemingly intractable dispute with Microsoft over its SkyDrive iOS app. SkyDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage offering.

As reported first by TNW, the impasse is caused by Apple’s strict interpretation of the rules governing its app marketplace and its readiness to go to the mat over any perceived infractions of those rules.

Apple receives 30% of the revenues from apps, making it a cash cow that it fiercely guards.

As long as Microsoft’s SkyDrive was a free app, there was no problem between the companies. The trouble arose only when Microsoft sought to include an update allowing users to purchase more storage space than the standard 7GB of free space.

From that point onwards, Apple denied Microsoft the ability to update its application in the iOS App Store.

The bone of contention is that Apple sees the 30% as lasting in perpetuity, regardless of whether the user chooses to ditch Apple devices altogether and purchase Microsoft or Android devices later on.

Microsoft of course, has balked at the unreasonableness (in their view) of this rule. The Next Web claims Microsoft has tried compromising with Apple, including taking out all the subscription options from its iOS app update, but Apple has simply denied all app updates.

To Apple, it now doesn’t matter if the update cannot be obtained through the iOS app; since the customer signed on through the Apple app store, they want the commission if and when and on whatever device is used to obtain the new service.

The Verge reports:

Microsoft has confirmed its latest SkyDrive iOS update is being delayed by Apple. A spokesperson says: “Similar to the experiences of some other companies, we are experiencing a delay in approval of our updated SkyDrive for iOS. We are in contact with Apple regarding the matter and hope to come to a resolution.”

Apple has also gone further and blocked 3rd-party apps that interact with the SkyDrive app, since the Microsoft service isn’t paying the demanded cut of its fees to Apple.

Right now, Apple is refusing to budge if signing in to SkyDrive can possibly lead to a sale of any type where they do not receive their commission.

It is their right, of course to run their marketplace according to their rules, but Microsoft’s aversion to having to pay a commission in perpetuity is understandable.

Unless some sort of agreement is forthcoming, Microsoft and 3rd party developers integrating with SkyDrive are in a pickle. Microsoft has a new version of the application ready to go, including a key bug fix that would rectify a crashing bug, but even that is stuck.

What do you think about Apple’s hardball tactics? Let me know in the discussion below.

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  • azurati

    The dispute between Microsoft and Apple has serious
    consequences for App developers who publish ‘free’ apps in the App Store, only
    to then charge users to activate the app or to upgrade to a version with better
    functionality.

    As Microsoft seems to be at odds with Apple’s stance that
    all in-app purchases should require a 30% payment to Apple (in perpetuity),
    will this force app developers to develop HTML5 web apps to by-pass app stores?

    This blog article looks at this in more detail: http://tinyurl.com/awgmapw