Google undercuts Apple's digital subscriptions

One Pass will take 10% of digital sales, rather than Apple's 30%

16 Feb 2011

Google has unveiled a digital subscription system, a day after Apple revealed its own controversial in-app subs rules.

Google's One Pass will let publishers sell content via tablets, smartphones and websites, taking a 10% cut of sales.

Apple takes a 30% cut of all subscriptions bought in-app, and requires all subscription-related firms to sell in-app as well as via the web - a move which has angered streaming service Rhapsody, which said the new system would make it impossible to break even.

Reports suggest Google moved its subscription system up after the launch of Apple's subscription service, possibly trying to take advantage of publishers' concerns about how the rules would affect their digital profits.

"Our goal is to provide an open and flexible platform that furthers our commitment to support publishers, journalism and access to quality content," said Lee Shirani, director of business product management at Google Commerce, in a blog post.

Publishers can use Google's One Pass to charge using different subscription models, "offering subscriptions, metered access, 'freemium' content or even single articles for sale from their websites or mobile apps," Shirani said, adding free subscriptions could also be offered.

All payments will go through Google's Checkout system.

Users won't be limited to using one device to access a subscription, Google said. "The service helps publishers authenticate existing subscribers so that readers don’t have to re-subscribe in order to access their content on new devices," said Shirani.

Google One Pass is immediately available in the UK, as well as across Europe and North America.

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