Another Reason to Go BlackBerry: In-App Payments Are Open


blackberry vs apple

It’s no secret that Apple is constantly trying to create a closed system where it controls every aspect of the app ecosystem. From purchasing, downloading and developing apps, Apple wants to be the go-to provider of infrastructure and its in-app payment system is no exception.

Recently, the NYT printed an article about the Sony eReader’s rejection from App Store due to the fact that they didn’t use Apple’s in-app payment system, but rather their own to save themselves having to give 30% to Apple. An Apple spokesperson responded saying:

“We have not changed our developer terms or guidelines. We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase.”

So Apple will not let developers use solely their own in-app purchasing system, but will allow them to use both. The problem with this is that users will inevitably flock to Apple’s system, but developers will want to push their own payment systems up front to save giving away the revenue.

On the other smartphone hand, RIM could care less what system the developer uses and simply offers the in-app payment solution (BlackBerry Payment Service) as a way of complementing their apps if they choose to use it. Shazam and Slacker are great examples of apps that are distributed free through App World and then leverage their own payment infrastructure for purchase (one time and subscription respectively). This highlights one of the biggest differences between RIM and Apple: openness. Not only is RIM open with its Payment Service and distribution options for developers, but they have PayPal, credit card and carrier billing as options for consumers.

By not locking apps down and letting developers choose their own distribution and monetization methods, as well as giving consumers a variety of options, you’re creating an app ecoysystem where the market dictates what’s best.

NOTE: While we can’t find any legal documentation about RIM’s stance on developers using RIM’s Payment Service versus their own methods, we got the official word from RIM to help write this article. To quote Alex Kinsella of RIM’s App World team: “As you know, RIM does not restrict our developers to our own payment system - and this has been the way since launch.” Respect.

Read Jason Kincaid’s negative take on Apple’s stance.

You can also read MG Siegler’s point which is “That’s not evil. That’s business.” While nobody is denying that Apple’s app revenues are astounding, RIM will soon prove that openness is the best business policy.

  • Norm

    RIM will soon prove that openness is the best business policy. - Check with the folks at Kik about that!

  • Eric at Ebscer

    I love that this is open.

    However I also love how convincent that RIM’s Payment API is, so I am using it anyhow…

  • Eric at Ebscer

    Been reading some more about some of the policies that Apple is implementing, and am really glad that RIM is not going that direction. 30% would not be acceptable when reselling goods such a music or books…

  • Kyle McInnes

    I see what you’re saying but it’s a little different. Kik was using a patent that RIM owns.

  • Kyle McInnes

    It’s just good to have options. I like that RIM is on board with that.

  • Norm

    Don’t get me wrong - I think Apple’s over zealous efforts to control the user experience make some things just frustrating for developers. I can’t imagine why there isn’t better text-to speech integration with email etc. and bluetooth mouse control on the iPad as there is on Andorid tablets. Open is better - as long as it doesn’t negatively impact user experience.

  • Adam

    Nice image of a blackberry going through an apple. Too bad the two apples aren’t the same ones. Or when a bullet (and/or blackberry) goes through an apple there wouldn’t be exit explosions on the entry side.

    CSI gentlemen. CSI.

  • Kyle McInnes

    True, then the only logical explanation is that there was a second bullet. One that came from a grassy knoll.