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The Yudu loophole won’t save anyone

The hot story today in digital publishing was Yudu and their new app platform for iOS. They’d come up with a new way to avoid paying Apple the 30% vig that Apple now require for all digital content apps.

I saw it earlier today and I’ve spent the day thinking about it. I don’t see how it’s going to work, for several reasons.

I keep reading the press release and other docs again and again, and I don’t see how this doesn’t already violate the rules. Apple’s rule is that if you sell content outside the app you must do so inside the app.  Yudu appear to be helping publishers to sell outside the app. How is that not a violation?

I’ve also been told that a "read only" app won’t work either. Apple will look through the app and to the store and bounce the app because it’s not selling content in the app. So even if you pull the selling completely away from the app it won’t pass muster.

Update (+2 hours): I’m told the previous paragraph is out of date. Apple will now let reading only apps stay, just so long as there’s no link out of the app to a website with a store. This means that Yudu’s new platform might actually pass muster.

The other reason this won’t work is that it is indeed a loophole. It will only last as long as Apple allow it too. If you don’t believe me then you must have forgotten how we got into the current predicament. I have been told that there were apps that cleared in December which were identical to ones that were rejected in January. Apple changed their mind between one week and the next on how they interpreted a rule. They can do that again.

Finally folks, this looks to me like this is simply another payment system at best, not a solution to all your problems. The in-app purchases will still be required, so this won’t actually save anyone anything.
Could someone please explain this to me? What did I miss?

Update (+2 hours): In the past 5 months Apple have changed their minds twice. That makes me feel even less sure that this loophole will survive. We have no clue what Apple will decide tomorrow.

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