Apple's new App Store restrictions block Sony eBookstore, may lock out Amazon

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Apple has tightened restrictions on its iOS App Store by requiring all in-app purchases to go through it, resulting in the rejection of an eBookstore application from Sony, a new report claims.



Update: Apple has denied the claim.



The Cupertino, Calif., company has told applications developers, including Sony, that it will no longer allow developers to sell content and provide access to purchases outside the iOS App Store, The New York Times reports.



According to the report, Apple rejected a Sony Reader iPhone application that would let users buy and read e-books from the Sony Reader Store. Steve Haber, president of Sony's digital reading division, said that Apple told Sony that from now on, in-app purchases must go through Apple.



?It?s the opposite of what we wanted to bring to the market,? said Haber. ?We always wanted to bring the content to as many devices as possible, not one device to one store.?



Rival ebook vendor Amazon could stand to lose. Amazon currently offers its Kindle e-book app on Apple's App Store, despite the fact that its Kindle e-reader competes with the iPad and iBookstore. The Kindle got an early start in the e-reading market, but has since lost significant ground to the iPad.



In December of last year, Amazon announced that the third-generation Kindle had become the best-selling product in the online retailer's history. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also noted at the time that many Kindle purchasers already own an LCD tablet, such as an iPad.



Analysts were taken aback by Apple's new restrictions, as they represent a shift away from recent attempts to be more collaborative.



Last fall, after receiving criticism for App Store restrictions that were viewed as "anti-competitive," Apple removed its ban on third-party development tools. With the more open licensing terms, Adobe resumed development of its Packager for iPhone tool for porting Flash to iOS.



Rival Google also gained from the changes, as its Google Voice application was accepted into the App Store. After Apple pulled Google Voice-enabled iPhone apps from the App Store, the US FCC launched an investigation of Apple and AT&T.



?This sudden shift perhaps tells you something about Apple?s understanding of the value of its platform,? said Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey. ?Apple started making money with devices. Maybe the new thing that everyone recognizes is the unit of economic value is the platform, not the device.?



Later this week, News Corp, in direct partnership with Apple, will unveil The Daily, an experimental iPad-only digital newspaper. Apple's new restrictions could be a preemptive move ahead of the launch of a new subscription feature for the iPad.



Apple has reportedly told several European publishers that it will employ "stricter rules" that forbid free iPad access to paid print subscribers. By doing so, publishers could bypass Apple and its 30 percent commission on App Store transactions.
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Comments

  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    According to the report, Apple rejected a Sony Reader iPhone application that would let users buy and read e-books from the Sony Reader Store. Steve Haber, president of Sony's digital reading division, said that Apple told Sony that from now on, in-app purchases must go through Apple.



    [?]



    Rival ebook vendor Amazon could stand to lose. Amazon currently offers its Kindle e-book app on Apple's App Store, despite the fact that its Kindle e-reader competes with the iPad and iBookstore. The Kindle got an early start in the e-reading market, but has since lost significant ground to the iPad.



    Hmm? did the Sony Reader send users to Safari to make purchases, the way Kindle does, or use an in-app access the WebKit API or some other method for buying eBooks within the app itself?



    I think Kindle will be fine here. As inconvenient as it is I understand Amazon?s reasoning for pushing you Safari. Unfortunately, this has made me buy more books on iBookstore despite the poorer selection. I wish Kindle would offer an iPad formatted page that would default to eBooks when you click the link in the Kindle app. Additionally, I would like them to make it easier to ?bookmark? a selection so that I can more easily buy the book, download and load into the Kindle app on my Mac.
  • oc4theooc4theo Posts: 294member
    Why should Apple allow competing companies to use the iOS platform for free advertisement? May be Apple should just charge them hefty rent for parking on its real estate.



    After all Apple iBookstore is not on any other platform. Will Amazon allow iBookstore on Kindle? Will Sony allow iBookstore on any of its e-readers? The answer is NO. SO why should Apple give them a free ride?
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post


    Why should Apple allow competing companies to use the iOS platform for free advertisement? May be Apple should just charge them hefty rent for parking on its real estate.



    After all Apple iBookstore is not on any other platform. Will Amazon allow iBookstore on Kindle? Will Sony allow iBookstore on any of its e-readers? The answer is NO. SO why should Apple give them a free ride?



    But does the Kindle allow 3rd-party apps? This is ‘a’ Wild, Wild West scenario where Apple needs to think this through before moving. If you deny other eBook vendors you risk losing HW sales in the short term and possibly the longterm, but if you allow it you risk losing HW sales in the long term if other vendors can create a good competing product, especially if that competitor allows an easy option for getting books.



    I don’t think the correct path is known just yet. A balance of these two will likely happen, but where they draw the line is yet unknown. We’ve see Apple do this very thing with iOS and the SDK since their release. They start small and simple and expand from there. This seems like the best course of action, IMO. The problem with opening too soon is if you make a mistake you can’t easily close it back up without incurring other, potentially worse issues.
  • asciiascii Posts: 5,363member
    I hope Amazon and Apple can work something out, Kindle is one of my favorite iOS apps. It's also one of my favorite Mac apps, but of course if it's banned from the MAS I will just download it from the web.
  • gwydiongwydion Posts: 993member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post


    Will Sony allow iBookstore on any of its e-readers? The answer is NO. SO why should Apple give them a free ride?



    The answer is YES, Sony allow content bought from other stores, you can read books bought on Barnes&Noble on your Sony eReader.
  • scotty321scotty321 Posts: 302member
    Wow, it only took a few short years for Apple to become completely evil. If this turns out to be true, I will never buy another iPad again. I use my Kindle and Nook apps all the time. If Apple shuts them out, I will shut Apple out forever.
  • docyoastdocyoast Posts: 16member
    This really p*sses me off; I thought the App Store was a means to sell more hardware.

    Apple, don't be evil.
  • povilaspovilas Posts: 473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gwydion View Post


    The answer is YES, Sony allow content bought from other stores, you can read books bought on Barnes&Noble on your Sony eReader.



    He is talking not about content, but about app.
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post


    Wow, it only took a few short years for Apple to become completely evil. If this turns out to be true, I will never buy another iPad again. I use my Kindle and Nook apps all the time. If Apple shuts them out, I will shut Apple out forever.



    You recognize that it?s just speculation and that Apple has allows Kindle since day one even though it?s likely the iBookstore was a path Apple knew they were going to take well before the Kindle was made for the App Store if we assume this is a natural part of a tablet?s use, yet you first claim that Apple is evil. I don?t think Apple (or any other company for that matter) is any more or less evil than before. I also don?t think Apple will pull the plug on the Kindle app simply because closing an already open system can have devastating affects. I can?t see doing this for reasons that would affect their bottom line, which is focused on HW sales, no content sales.
  • djsherlydjsherly Posts: 845member
    It sounds likes it could eventually go further than that. Is there a possibility down the line that if I could buy ereader content completely separately from the app (that is, without ever opening the app or linking through it), availability of the app itself on the app store might be compromised?
  • mkwilson68mkwilson68 Posts: 7member
    Apple, seriously, this is a step too far. Stop app developers from *linking out* to the internet to purchase things? iTunes doesn't stop you listening to music digitised from a CD - that you bought elsewhere. Pages doesn't stop you opening a research report purchased from a third party. You can even import a commercially purchased PDF in iBooks.



    Seriously - I've owned everything from Apple for 20 years. Kindle accounts for 50% plus of the time I spend on my iPad. If that app goes, I won't trash my iPad, but I certainly won't be so keen to upgrade - and I know a stack of people who will simply not buy one and buy a kindle instead: a debate many people are having right now, and the kindle app is a big part of that decision.



    Please Apple, I'm a big fan of the controlled experience, but don't do something *this* obnoxious.
  • cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 2,756member
    iOS is Job's speak for - I Own your Sh*t



  • jon tjon t Posts: 131member
    What are Sony complaining about - they can make it work on the Android platform and there are now so many more wonderful Android phones with affluent owners to sell to..



    Aren't there?



    And anyhow, what about Sony paying for the privilege?
  • realisticrealistic Posts: 1,099member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gwydion View Post


    The answer is YES, Sony allow content bought from other stores, you can read books bought on Barnes&Noble on your Sony eReader.



    You miss the point on this. The iBookstore application is not on Sony's hardware.



    Why should Apple allow Sony's app if it allows someone to buy content direct from Sony's store without Apple being paid anything?
  • tjwtjw Posts: 216member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post


    Why should Apple allow competing companies to use the iOS platform for free advertisement? May be Apple should just charge them hefty rent for parking on its real estate.



    After all Apple iBookstore is not on any other platform. Will Amazon allow iBookstore on Kindle? Will Sony allow iBookstore on any of its e-readers? The answer is NO. SO why should Apple give them a free ride?



    Apple wouldnt put their stores on another platform. Can you imagine itunes on android? The problem here is that apple are more closed that communist russia and we all know what happened to them.
  • gwydiongwydion Posts: 993member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jon T View Post


    What are Sony complaining about - they can make it work on the Android platform and there are now so many more wonderful Android phones with affluent owners to sell to..



    Aren't there?



    And anyhow, what about Sony paying for the privilege?



    When I read things like this I'm convinced that people like jocking
  • beakernx01beakernx01 Posts: 56member
    Just a week or so ago, we had a debate on why Apple would prohibit a newspaper from allowing access to its news through a free app but to only those who paid the newspaper a subscription fee. Apple gets no financial benefit from either the app nor the subscription. I posed that this was the same as Netflix charging subscription fees to members but allowing them free access to "Watch Instantly" through the free Netflix App. Of course, we are in the dark as to whether Apple has a particular deal with Netflix in this case for either monetary or strategic gain. And now, similarly, it falls to books. Free Kindle and Nook e-reading apps earn Apple nothing, while their owners reap the rewards of e-book sales. I think Apple might be doing something over the anti-competitive line here. It's very similar to the Net Neutrality issue where an ISP chooses which e-commerce websites or online video websites its subscribers can visit or favoring properties it owns.



    I recently purchased my first two Kindle e-books but only because the titles weren't available in the iBookstore. I think before they start blocking things like this, they would do well to consider consumers' needs. Of course, in their own self interest, their lawyers should be telling them to back down on this one, because they're in for a big FTC investigation if they proceed.



    I'm not saying Apple shouldn't protect its revenue streams, but doing so using draconian measures rather than, as they always have, providing a better product and experience, is not very Apple-like.
  • gwydiongwydion Posts: 993member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Realistic View Post


    Why should Apple allow Sony's app if it allows someone to buy content direct from Sony's store without Apple being paid anything?



    And why Apple has to be paid? Is delivering the content, is storing the content.
  • boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 920member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gwydion View Post


    And why Apple has to be paid? Is delivering the content, is storing the content.



    Are they?

    If yes, then absolutely, Apple has a right to charge a fee. But it's not clear.

    If not, it just seems to be a biz decision by Apple... because they can. And one, IMO, I do not care for(less choice).



    I can import music to iTunes and play it on iOS devices. Not sure this should be any different... IMO.



    I wish the author delved into these issues a bit more instead of leaving it to novices like me to speculate.
  • fabiopigifabiopigi Posts: 19member
    So whats next?

    Banning eBay because its not purchasing items with in-app payment?

    Removing all newspapers because they log with a code that regular paper subscriber get?

    Forbidding ads that aren't iAd because the developer gets paid by the ads and not with inapp? (no really, apple doesn't make any money from admob-ads, the developer does, why shoudn't apple deserve 30% from that too? )

    Or only allowing netflix if the subscription is bought with in-app?



    Seriously apple, this is stupid.
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