Mobile

Docstoc takes Apple’s subscription plan in stride

Whether it falls under Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ definition of a publishing company or not, online document host Docstoc isn’t taking any chances. The company will use Apple’s newest subscription policy for the premium iPad service it launched today.

The company hosts documents that are important for smaller businesses that range from applications to launch a web-based company to move-out forms for landlords and tenants. Users can access a lot of the documents for free, but the company’s newest premium service has more than 10,000 documents that it has deemed mission-critical for smaller and mid-sized businesses.

“We’re here to host every single document a small business is ever going to need,” said Docstoc founder Jason Nazar. “Whether that’s from firing people, which (Launch conference host) Jason (Calcanis) knows plenty about, to starting a web business.”

Docstoc offers an online subscription that lets users can pay $20 a month for access to all of its online documents. Users can also pay $20 to view and print individual documents. The company is also launching an iPad application that allows Docstoc users to access its premium documents, view them and print them.

But it isn’t clear where Docstoc falls in Apple’s new definition of a publishing application. Apple’s Jobs said that web-based applications hosted on remote servers — software-as-a-service, or “SaaS” applications — do not fall under the new subscription model. That would include storage apps like Dropbox and enterprise applications like Salesforce. Companies that are classified as being publishers, however, have to pay Apple 30 percent of their subscription fees.

Docstoc is distributing content, but it isn’t necessarily original content — they’re just documents that are used pretty often by smaller and mid-sized businesses. There’s already a lot of confusion as to what kind of apps fall under the new plan. Docstoc is going to commit to the subscription plan and avoid the risk of getting its app booted off the store. The service will be one of the first to use Apple’s new subscription plan for iPad users.

The company launched three years ago at the TechCrunch 40 conference. The site has around 25 million active visitors and 10 million unique registered users.


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