Some time in mid-January, Apple began contacting app developers to alert them that they're going to begin more strictly enforcing policy regarding subscription-based applications. This covers apps available on the iPhone and other devices offered by the company. Essentially they want to rein in subscription-based apps like they do anything else: they want a piece of the pie. A pretty big one, too.
Apple is said to be giving app developers until March 31, 2011 to comply with the policies which will limit apps to using Apple’s own subscription API built into iOS — stating that they will reject any apps that attempt to utilize their own subscription service. And of course, if your app isn’t on iTunes, it’s going to be pretty darn hard to get it installed on your device.
For World of Warcraft players, this obviously means the Remote Auction House, which has optional features integrated that cost $2.99 a month. You must have an active World of Warcraft account to utilize the subscription service, and as of right now Blizzard handles the billing.
While you can use your browser for all of the features, it’s the iPhone version that may come under fire with this policy change. Apple wants to be the one handling all subscriptions through applications on their devices, which in turn would net them 30% of any revenues from said subscriptions.
The question then is, how exactly does this policy enforcement affect the Remote Auction House? Does it at all? Perhaps there’s a loophole Blizzard can use since you’re able to access the subscription features via a web browser — essentially only offering an “extension” to access those services through the application. After all, you’re not paying a subscription for the app itself. Or are you?