Apple blocks SkyDrive app for iOS devices as Microsoft balks over 30% App Store fee

“The difficulty began when Microsoft rolled out the ability for SkyDrive users to purchase more storage space on the service. From that point, the company was not permitted to update its application in the iOS App Store,” Alex Wilhelm reports for TNW. “The reason? It doesn’t pay Apple a 30% cut of subscription revenue generated by the application through the paid, additional storage. Microsoft does not appear keen to pay Apple the 30% cut, as it lasts in perpetuity, regardless of whether a user continues to use an iOS device or not, as the billing is through their Apple account.”

Wilhelm reports, “Therefore, if a user signed up for a few additional gigabytes on their iOS device, and then moved to Android or Windows Phone or not phone at all, for the length of their account, Apple would collect 30% of their fee for storage. This hasn’t sat well with Microsoft.”

MacDailyNews Take: The number of people incurring brain injuries severe enough to cause them to downgrade from an iOS device to an inferior platform is negligible. And, as if Apple gives two shits about what sits well with Microsoft.

“Microsoft has persisted in trying to work out a compromise with Apple, but has thus far failed to come to an agreement. The company offered to remove all subscription options from its application, leaving it a non-revenue generating experience on iOS. The offer was rebuffed,” Wilhelm reports. “If a service has a subscription option, it seems, and it is not listed in the iOS store, the application cannot, and will not be allowed… TNW suspects that the sticking point in that matter was the ability to sign up for SkyDrive through the application, a ‘no’ in Apple books.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Here’s the deal, Apple’s rules are crystal clear: Pay the fee or you don’t get into the App Store to take advantage of Apple’s free distribution via multiple billion-dollar data centers (current and future), promotion, marketing, ecosystem, etc., nor does your app/service gain exposure to the world’s #1 user base; the one user base proven to have disposable income and the will to spend it.

Microsoft can go “service” those who settle for lesser platforms, who want everything for free, and see how far that gets them.

As Microsoft well knows, Apple has built something not easily replicated. If you want in, there is a fee to cover Apple’s costs and inimitable hard work; past, present, and future.

Microsoft has two choices: Pay the fee or go pound sand.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. I don’t even know what the hell SkyDrive does or what it is, much less pay for it. Since switching over to Apple, I have totally weaned myself of any MS products, a.k.a. filth.

    The only remeaining MS products I use with any regularity is Word, but only because of inter-operability with documents crafted in Word by people I interact with at work. I don’t even use Excel any more. Numbers is a perfectly good substitute. If I’m on my iPhone or iPad, I use Pages and Numbers for iOS exclusively.

    I have deleted all my MSN accounts and Hotmail accounts I used to have when I was a Microsoft user. If I need MSN Messenger, I use Skype instead. Everything about Microsoft is repellent. iCloud serves all my needs now. SkyDrive is nothing more than a total waste of time.

        1. They didn’t create HoTMail either.
          Apple didn’t create Siri
          Google didn’t create Google Earth

          All these corporations buy companies when they want to own the technology.

          1. It’s not about who bought what, it’s about improvements and making that application offered better for the consumer. Microsoft has sat on its hands and still lives for the yesteryear storybook it had many years ago, problem is Microsoft has proven that it doesn’t improve anything it purchases, it kills it and Skype is a perfect example.

            Now for Siri, it’s still in beta, the diffence is it is being improved and worked on daily, it’s who purchases what and adds innovation to make that product better by adding innovation and stability for the life of the product.
            And as such we have the typical Microsoft way of thinking that is killing them.

            “We are Microsoft, we can’t fail just because we are Microsoft”

            As we can see, they are failing and it’s very disconcerting due to what they should be doing compared to what they did, you can’t live in the past, Microsoft’s thinking that the achievements of the past will keep them free from destruction is now their undoing.

      1. I don’t even know what pivot table functionality is. Numbers IS a real spreadsheet. What it isn’t, is a complete Excel replacement. Excel may be the end-all, be-all spreadsheet app, but for many users, it’s overkill.

        1. Pivot Tables are great. Basically they are a tool that allows you to summarize data quickly and easily. You can quickly sort out data and get a count of items, total or averages of data.

          Even Google docs offers a pivot table. Its sorely missing from Numbers.

          I can’t use a spreadsheet that does not have a pivot table. Its like comparing the GUI to DOS.

          1. Consumer spreadsheet application. It sounds to me like “Pivot Tables” is intended more for “Commercial” use. There are hundreds of features missing from Apple’s apps but found in Word and in Excel that are “critical” to one Business user or another, while well over 90% of the features they actually use on a daily basis are there. In some cases it is merely the snobbery of a high-tech secretary working on job protection.
            MDN: While I can understand Apple’s insistence on uniformity, what is MSFT thinking? Would an iOS app work on a non-iOS device? Would they not need to get a native app for their Windows phone? Would that not cancel the iOS app? There’s LOTS of room for reasonable people to negotiate this. I isn’t like this is Congress, or anything!

            1. So what you’re saying is, Numbers isn’t appropriate for businesses with more than a few things to keep track of, and those businesses should stick with a proper “business” or “commercial” level spreadsheet.

              We’re a small business but need to analyze thousands of log and database entries every month. Pivot tables are an amazingly easy way to do this. Maybe Table Categories would suffice, I don’t know I haven’t tried.

              But, you’d do less damage to Apple users’ efforts to excise MS stuff if you simply admit is missing some traditional features but that there are workarounds or alternatives that might do the trick, rather than implying businesses shouldn’t even bother with it.

      2. You do know that there are data analysis tools in numbers where you can select rows and columns or even cells to convert that data into charts right. Along with scatter graphs it way better than pivot tables. Go to Numbers and find the tutorial on tables and charts.

            1. Four more…

              Excel is an amazingly powerful tool. Numbers is like giving a professional photographer iPhoto to edit his photos. Great and simple to use for quick snapshots, but seriously lacking in function.

            2. I have just proved why you don’t need pivot tables or pagenation. Now you got any more bright ideas about what is missing? Let’s hear them and see if I cant shoot them down same as the other two.

              Thinking that Numbers is missing features through ignorance is no way to go through life.

    1. SkyDrive is MS’s iCloud

      When using windows 8, you have all the same features of iCloud including accounts(like appleId), application store(like AppStore), disk(like iDisk or now the iCloud document store). I think the OfficeOnline is suppose to be in there so you can save documents in the cloud.

      MS has tried to copy everything Apple has done. And apple took cues from MS when moving from MobileMe.

      Both are fine services. I don’t know who is better. And…who not to trust (ms).

      The biggest problem with SkyDrive is that it’s a bit fragmented and confusing. And not really supported on mobile devices.(windows rt and windows slate coming).

      I do documents on my iPad by saving to iCloud. windows 8 users will use SkyDrive.

      Both platforms have their solution. This has nothing to do with Android.

  2. How things can change on you in a heartbeat …. Microsoft, so used to being in charge, now has to come to Apple hat in hand…, just goes to show you …. No one is too mighty to fall.

  3. Smaller developers (like me) had to remove our ‘Register here’ buttons from our apps, or pay up via an in-store purchase. There are in-store purchases for single items (e.g. more levels) or consumable items (e.g. fish food), but not for a yearly rental fee.
    All developers are treated equally, and that is good…

  4. I’m with MS on this one. I think its ridiculous that anything you sell via your app is hit with a 30% extortion rate.

    If you had a choice on joining the appstore to sell your goods I might look at it differently but you don’t have a choice, if you want to sell software for ios you are stuck dealing with one supplier and their terms.

        1. So by your reasoning all apps would immediately switch to being free, but you would have to in-app purchase to get any content, service, etc. so the developer would avoid the Apple 30% cut.

          For example, you could download Angry Birds for free, but if you wanted more than 3 levels, you have to buy them via in-app purchase.

          Never mind that Apple provided you with the servers to host your app, set up the app store so people can find your app and download it, and pays all of the credit card processing fees. No, you shouldn’t have to pay any of that because you chose an in-app purchase model instead of an upfront app purchase model.

          If you don’t like the rules or the system, go play in someone else’s sandbox.

        2. The iOS eyes, ears and especially wallets belong to Apple.

          You want access to Apple’s customers, pay Apple 30% to sell to Apple’s 100 million plus wallets.

          Who would walk away from that many customers?

    1. And if you want one low price for 12 different favors of WINDOWS then….. well at least you get the later… the one low price is another thing.

      You don’t have a choice in buying the Microsoft Surface from anyone but Microsoft “but that’s a good thing, why would ya”, and by the way did you get lost or just find you had to make a pit stop to stand up for the dying pathetic company named Microsoft just after you purchased that large drink and an overpriced 4oz bag of chips.

      Microsoft was the last exit.

      Really… Really.

      1. I stand for all developers when I complain about the appstore and its draconian policies.

        The whole thing is a step backwards for computer users and sadly Microsoft is trying the same digital prison techniques with the windows store.

        Don’t confuse my hatred of Apple’s appstore gulag for a love of MS lol. I just happen to agree with their cause in this one instance.

  5. It has well been documented that subscription based service Apps in the App Store CAN exist w/out having to pay Apple 30% of the fee.

    Netflix has successfully done it for over a year now. They can’t directly link to their sign up page, but simply says “If you don’t have an account, sign up at”.

    Spotify and Pandora both offer premium services that you purchase on their site w/out having to go through Apple.

    Hulu is another video service that offers a paid service that is on the device that gets around Apple’s system.

    The bottom line is, where there is a will, there is a way. We all know Microsoft has no will to succeed. They just want to do it their way, not Apple’s way. If they wanted to put SkyDrive App on there, and simply require customers to already have an account to use it, then they can do that w/out having to pay Apple. Microsoft just wants people to be able to create new accounts on there, which means they want to take advantage of Apple’s customer base and infrastructure to grow their product, but without having to pay Apple for it.

    And as MDN said, who in their right mind would down grade from iOS to Android or Windows. Furthermore, what moron would use SkyDrive on your iOS in the first place. I think this entire thing is a media blitz over a nonissue.

  6. The key here is that Microsoft already had a perfectly functioning SkyDrive app in the App Store. It simply did not have a link to sign up for an account in it. They were the ones that decided to change their app and circumvent the App Store requirements.

    In fact, the current version of SkyDrive still exists in the App Store. It’s actually a pretty sweet service, if you want an extra bit of cloud storage beyond Dropbox. Except that you’re not allowed to use it to store pornography or they might shut down your account. What is the world coming to?

    1. Thank you Zeph! So MS is merely provoking Apple. This has NOTHING to do with Apple blocking anything except the usual freebie in-app sales Microsoft wants as a special EXCEPTION to what every other developer does with their cloud apps. Figures. What idiots.

        1. This is an old thread with cobwebs about a decrepit old LIE told to the public by MS apologists. So yawn.

          But I will point out, yawny yawn yawn, once again, that Apple didn’t need any help at all. What Steve Jobs got out of Bill Gates that day they spoke was:

          1) MS Office promised for Mac for five years. At the time Office was king. Knowing Office would stick around for Mac, in a very public way, made Mac users happy. I personally never cared. I’ve been Microsoft-Free for decades.

          2) Without verifying, I think it was $150 million in non-voting Apple stock for five years. After that point Microsoft could sell it, and they did. Again, this was for PR. Apple did NOT, despite LIES to the contrary, need any money. They had billions in liquid assets to burn. This made the lunatic press all happy and stuff because it meant Microsoft was being nice to their old pals Apple, the guys who handed them the majority of the Windows GUI. (Yes they did! Look it up! Not it wasn’t all Xerox! Most if it was Apple’s ideas! Do your homework! Don’t be lazy! Etc!)

          3) Bill Gates has to show up on a big screen, looking EXACTLY like Big Brother in the Apple 1984 ads, at MacWorld 1998 (again without me bothering to check the year). Hardy har har! Bill Gates doesn’t even notice. Steve Jobs gets a dig in on Gates.

          4) Microsoft had to hand ALL the stolen QuickTime code back to Apple and NEVER use it themselves. MS had been caught red-handed and refused to return the code, thus the LITTLE TALK between Jobs and Gates that lead to this list.

          5) Never-to-be-revealed financial settlement under-the-table to Apple as damages for having STOLEN Apple’s QuickTime code from one of Apple’s hired third party developers. There are no plausible guesses as to how much compensation was paid. We just know it WAS paid. It could have been $1. It could have been $1 BILLION or more. I suspect only the IRS, Apple and MS know for sure.

          I think that was the list, but there may have been one other thing or other.

          Sorry, but all of the above is verifiable except where I designated that I’m too bored with this subject to double-check.

          Let the myth and LIES just die. Deal with reality please. Stop apologizing for Microsoft. Stop making up bullshit about Apple. It’s just stupid old propaganda, worth absolutely nothing but temporary relief from THE REAL WORLD.

  7. At first, this looked like a bit of a greedy Apple / poor Microsoft kind of a story. Here we have MS, offering a service that is a recurring subscription, that is usable on multitude of platforms. We then have Apple, who collects 30% of the subscription, only because it was made through an iOS app, even though the user may only use it on iOS for a while, and eventually (bear with me) move into the all-MS Windows 8 Metro eco-system. If such person signed up for the subscription through the iOS app, their subscription would get renewed through the Apple store, and Apple would continue to collect 30%, even if the person no longer used Apple devices, and had long ago moved over to (bear with me again) Windows 8 eco-system. From another angle, this would seem unfair.

    However, After seeing Ben Eckenroed‘s comment, I realised this is an incorrect angle. Just like many others, who offer subscription services for their products, for various platforms, who choose NOT to use Apple’s mighty iOS platform for promotion and quick acquisition of paying customers, MS could have easily just told their uses in the iOS app to go to and sign up for more space over there. Obviously, that would have likely received much fewer paying customers than an in-app purchase option. The power of iOS and the whole Apple eco-system brings very sweet revenue, but MS now doesn’t want to pay Apple their fair share of this sweet revenue.

    Well, you simply can’t have it both ways, MS. There is a reason why everyone loves paying Apple (almost) a third of their hard-earned money: Apple is instrumental in bringing all that money to the table in the first place. If you don’t want direct access to hundreds of millions of Apple customers (you know, the ones with discretionary income, disposable cash and discerning taste; the ones that gladly pay for quality), you can always sell on the world wide wild (west) web. There, you can keep all the money for yourself.

    1. On that same note, if Microsoft were to observe that a user had initially signed up through an iOS app and had a subscription coming through their Apple ID but had not signed in using the iOS app in some time, they could then offer that user a 30% discount on the service for X amount of time, and all that user would have to do is sign in to their account and switch to a new subscription from the website. This would, in effect, cancel the user’s subscription through Apple and set it back up through Microsoft themselves. Then, at the end of the promotional period (where the user was paying the same amount to Microsoft that Microsoft was already receiving, they would return to the original price that the user had initially paid and Microsoft would again receive full compensation for the subscription.

      And they wouldn’t even have to give a full 30% discount for the user to feel like they got a deal and for Microsoft to get the subscriber off the Apple subscription system.

  8. I’d like to better comprehend what’s the BFD here:

    I bought space at Evernote. I bought it via the web, not their app. Apple doesn’t dick around with Evernote because they sell cloud space via other means. The same goes with at least a DOZEN other cloud services.

    So Microsoft: Are you just being assholes to Apple, TRYING to tick them off? Is that why this rhetoric war is going on? I bet it is.

    The solution MS: Just give away the SkyDrive app, no in-app sales, period. It’s so damned simple and has lots of precedence. Oh and STFU. Stop provoking Apple with your BS. You’re annoying, as usual.

  9. Apple is the new Microsoft. All you fanboys probably jumped on the Apple fan bandwagon when Apple was the nice kid on the block and Microsoft was the evil empire. Well, kids, get used to it. Apple had the coup and turned out to be the new dictator. It happens in world politics, and it happens in the tech world. It is human nature. If you cannot see that Apple will get as bad as Microsoft, you have no idea about human nature.

    1. Troll, take the time to read the above comments, before opening your big trap! Didn’t your mother teach you that if you don’t have anything nice to say, keep your trap shut!

  10. Hmm, I feel I might just have viewed the shallow end of the gene pool. Pop this into your Numbers spreadsheet; 1.25billion Windows PCs worldwide. 500 million Android devices wordwde. 365 million iOS devices worldwide. One of these numbers is smaller than the others. (ie: it’s not MS who are missing out). MS are far from being the only ones baulking at Apples heavy fees. BTW: Mac users can use SkyDrive from their desktop, just not from iOS devices.

    1. Actually, SkyDrive works perfectly fine on iOS devices. Users can’t sign up for a subscription inside of said iOS device, nor can Microsoft link to a subscription page from inside the SkyDrive app on iOS. But, the app functions perfectly. All Apple did was block an update that would allow non-subscribers to become subscribers without visiting Microsoft’s website in search of a subscription. This is the same way that the Netflix app works.

      Also, while there may be 1.25 billion Windows PCs worldwide, that number is no longer growing. The iOS device numbers are growing every year and will eventually overtake Windows PC devices as the post-PC era emerges fully into the light.

      Apple isn’t missing out on anything by blocking the update to the SkyDrive app. Microsoft can easily pay Apple their 30% and get the app updated and into the store. They don’t want to do that. The only thing on which Apple is missing out is an update of an app that earns them no money to a new version of said app (that still earns them no money).

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.