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Apple adds digital subscription service to app store

Apple has extended its digital subscription billing service used for Rupert Murdoch's iPad-only newspaper to all magazines, newspapers, videos and music on its application store.

Apple has extended its digital subscription billing service used for Rupert Murdoch's iPad-only newspaper to all magazines, newspapers, videos and music on its application store.

The same billing system used for apps on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad will allow users to subscribe to digital publications for the first time, rather than purchase each issue separately. Apple will maintain its 30% cut.

"Our philosophy is simple - when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30% share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100% and Apple earns nothing", said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, who is currently taking a medical leave of absence.

"All we require is that, if a publisher is making a subscription offer outside of the app, the same (or better) offer be made inside the app, so that customers can easily subscribe with one-click right in the app," he said.

"We believe that this innovative subscription service will provide publishers with a brand new opportunity to expand digital access to their content onto the iPad, iPod touch and iPhone, delighting both new and existing subscribers."

Publishers will be able to sell digital subscriptions on their websites. However, Apple will prevent links within apps directing customers to purchase content outside the app.

Customers purchasing subscriptions will be given the option whether to provide the publisher with their name, e-mail address and postcode details.

Pricing of such online content has started to come under increasing scrutiny after the Office of Fair Trading announced this month that it plans to investigate e-book pricing over fears of uncompetitive practices.

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