The Random Musings of a Random Mind

Rant: Skyscape Screws iPhone Users

Well looks like Skyscape has decided to screw iPhone users.

Click the image to open in full size.

According to my conversation with this customer relations rep, while Skyscape apps on symbian, blackberry, windows mobile, palm and desktop will be available as a once off payment (standard edition), iPhone apps will only be available as a yearly subscription (subscription edition).

Example: Stedmann’s

What is the Difference Between the Standard Version and the Subscription Version?

So for example the above Stedmann’s Medical Dictionary.

Standard version is a US$49.95 one off payment:

Standard Version:

* Higher initial price
* 12 months of free content updates, New Editions not included
* Phone Support for 90 days, ongoing chat and email support.
* Device Transfer Policy: same as current, but transfers can only be to another device/platform that supports Standard Versions; for more information refer to our FAQs
* Product can be used in frozen state after expiration, but data may be out of date.

BUT only available on the iPhone as US$37.46 yearly subscription:

Subscription Version:

* Lower initial price
* Updates include new editions
* Phone Support for the entire subscription period as well as ongoing chat and email
* Device transfers allowed for active subscriptions to platforms which support the Subscription Versions, for more information refer to our FAQs
* Convenient auto-renewal with free continuous updates including feeds of journal supparies and CME activities.

Ok. I understand there is a need for up to date medical resources (especially drug guides) and certainly a subscription service is nice. However Skyscape used to off this “STAT” as a free service now they are charging. This is all well and good.

However what irritates me is they are not EVEN offering the standard version for iPhone, so I have NO CHOICE but to pay US$37.46 every year if I want to use any Skyscape resource on the iPhone.

Now I am more than willing to pay up to US%50 per medical resource but definitely not $37.50 yearly. It’s just cost prohibitive.

Having medical information on my iPhone would have been great as the device kicks ass, but looks like I will be forced into using my old windows mobile device for the serious work related stuff and my iPhone has been downgraded from a potentially great work device to my personal after hours phone only.

Honestly I am so disappointed with this decision. iPhone users shouldn’t be treated as a market segment to be singled out and exploited.

Looks like I will have to bring my Jasjam out of retirement.


I was thinking maybe this is Skyscape’s way of offering a means to have ‘paid’ continual updates and that if you ended you subscription then they would still allow you to use your native medical app with no updates.

Apparently not, my first instinct was right they are just screwing iPhone users.

Click the image to open in full size.

And in their FAQ they confirm this:

And offer a detailed answer to why you can’t get standard editions on the iPhone/iPod Touch (sarcasm).

Click the image to open in full size.


4 Responses to “Rant: Skyscape Screws iPhone Users”

  1. […] NEOPROTOCULTURE added an interesting post on Skyscape Screws iPhone UsersHere’s a small teaser … he serious work related stuff and my iPhone has been downgraded from a potentially great work device to my personal after hours phone only…. … iPhone users shouldn’t be treated as a market segment to be singled out and exploited…. … once off payment, iPhone apps will only be available as a yearly subscription….46 every year if I want to use any Skyscape resource on the iPhone…. […]

  2. [This is copy of my reply on my blog]

    I think I discovered the problem you are having.

    Skyscape began offering iPhone subscriptions for access to their server-residing data resources. That access connects you to a web-app version of the resource title.

    Last week Skyscape posted the My Skyscape portal iPhone/i{Pod Touch web app. The problem was they were not ready with their device-residing data versions of their resources. To add to the confusion their web site was listing iPhone applications that were device-residing and others that were server-residing.

    When I last looked at the site it seems they pulled all the iPhone titles until the resources are ready.

    I bought a Davis Drug Guide and was able to download it to my iPhone.

    These device-residing resources are called Standard resources by Skyscape. They are functional after the subscription period ends, but cannot be updated without resubscribing.

  3. Just an update on this. It’s been confirmed that Skyscape will only be offering medical references on the iphone and iphone touch in a subscription format.

    At the moment everything has a 1 year subscription whereas dictionaries have a 3 year subscription.

    While I don’t necessarily believe in subscriptions for anything other than drug guides (which update regularly), I am willing to accept a fair subscription model (if standard editions are definitely not on the cards).

    However they seem to have blanketed anything that is not a dictionary with an 1 year subscription. One book I am interested in costs US$24 on skyscape per year and the book costs US$29 to buy outright.

    Unless the book has new material or has a new edition every years, in three years i would have effectively paid for the book 3 times. Now that is not equitable.

    Many of the the text books they offer have a new edition out every 3-4 years. So the fact that skyscape have decided to disable you access to the book if you don’t pay their yearly subscription is outrageous.

    If i have bought the resource already why do i need to keep rebuying it every year just to be able to continue to use it unless they believe the service they are offering is so valuable that it is worth 300-400% of the actual cost of the publication itself.

  4. Ok Skyscape has listened to their end users kinda of:

    New plans from

    -Free content updates for 12 months (not including new editions)
    -Continued use after 12 months (no updates)
    -90 days phone support (chat and email ongoing)

    -Free new editions included during term of subscription
    -Convenient auto-renewal option for continued use
    -Ongoing phone, chat and email support
    -Device upgrade protection

    Standard editions remain usable after the initial period, but subscriptions need to be renewed to be used. The baffling thing is that the subscriptions aren’t that much cheaper than buying the resource outright.

    So why buy the subscription for anything other than drug indexes. Subscriptions are handy for only about 2% of their catalogue. Ok….. Personally i’d rather just buy the standard edition when ever a new edition comes out every 3-4 years and still save almost 50%.

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