WSJ, Amazon, Google, Kobo iOS apps affected by Apple's direct sales rules

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Apple's newly enforced policy banning links to out-of-app purchases has forced The Wall Street Journal, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo to remove purchasing options from their iOS applications, while the Google Books application has been completely removed.



The Journal detailed its own situation, along with the effects on other App Store software, in a report filed on Monday. In it, the paper revealed it will no longer sell content directly to customers through App Store software, bypassing Apple's 30 percent cut of all in-app sales.



Previously, the Journal was circumventing Apple's in-app purchasing system by providing users a link to its website from within its iPad application. In February, Apple revised its iOS terms of service and banned such links, requiring all content purchases or subscriptions to go through its own system.



Apple softened its stance in June, when the company decided it would allow out-of-app purchases to have lower prices than those made available with in-app purchasing. Previously, the company had required that subscriptions sold outside of the App Store umbrella, where the company does not receive a 30 percent cut, to be "at the same price or less than is offered outside the app."



But even with that concession, both the Journal and e-book seller Kobo have decided they do not want to give Apple a 30 percent cut, and they are not allowed to include a "buy" button that links to an outside website. A spokeswoman for the paper said that Apple's rules "would create a poor experience for our readers, who would not be able to directly manage their WSJ account or easily access our content across multiple platforms." Now, customers will need to call customer service or visit WSJ.com to subscribe.



For Kobo customers, digital books will be available through the Safari Web browser by visiting kobo.com. Users will still be able to access and read Kobo-purchased books from their library on an iPad or iPhone.



In addition, Amazon on Monday also updated its own iOS application, with version 2.8 removing the Kindle Store button from the App Store software. Like with Kobo, Kindle users must purchase their content from elsewhere, like the Safari browser or even another device, in order to read it on their iPad.



Barnes & Noble, too, updated its own Nook application and removed a buy link. Users are instructed to visit nookbooks.com in their browser to purchase new content.



In addition to the Journal, Amazon and Kobo, the Google Books application may also have been affected by Apple's newly enforced restrictions. The software is no longer available on the App Store, but a spokesman for the search giant reportedly declined to comment.







Apple's change of opinion in June came soon after one prominent newspaper, the Financial Times, decided to create an HTML5-optimized website rather than submit to Apple's in-app subscription rules and give the company its 30 percent share of sales. The paper's application was highlighted in 2010 at the WWDC Apple Design Awards.



Another major content provider, Hulu, complied with Apple's rules in June, when it removed a link to its website in its official iOS application. Previously, the software featured a link to the Hulu Plus website, where users could purchase the subscription service.
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Comments

  • spunkybartspunkybart Posts: 20member
    This is a negative effect of Apple's change in terms, leading to poorer customer experience and reducing the benefit of the iPad.



    Having the Kindle and Nook apps on the iPad is a big plus. And although the apps are still there, they are being updated to comply with the terms, so there will be no way to buy a book directly from the app now. The user will have to know how to buy the books in the browser (and then do you sync them to the iPad?)



    Bad decision on Apple's part.
  • cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by spunkybart View Post


    This is a negative effect of Apple's change in terms, leading to poorer customer experience and reducing the benefit of the iPad.



    Having the Kindle and Nook apps on the iPad is a big plus. And although the apps are still there, they are being updated to comply with the terms, so there will be no way to buy a book directly from the app now. The user will have to know how to buy the books in the browser (and then do you sync them to the iPad?)



    Bad decision on Apple's part.



    It was always clunky buying books from Amazon on iOS. The Kindle app would spawn off a safari page with Amazon's hideous storefront. If your default device is set as your iDevice then buying the book via the webpage will be absolutely no different now than it was before, except for the lack of a button in the app taking you there.
  • matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    In addition, Amazon on Monday also updated its own iOS application, with version 2.8 removing the Kindle Store button from the App Store software.



    And too many people here claimed they will pull the app rather than the links.
  • saareksaarek Posts: 974member
    Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought Apple had said that they can offer a payment system but have to also offer pricing from the App Store.



    The Times iPad app works this way.
  • cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by saarek View Post


    Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought Apple had said that they can offer a payment system but have to also offer pricing from the App Store.



    The Times iPad app works this way.



    They could but it's effectively impossible for Amazon at least to do that because
    1. Their margins aren't big enough to pay Apple's 30%

    2. Apple's in app purchase system doesn't allow for such a large catalogue.

    Apple really needs to introduce a different charging structure for content resellers if they want to move those transactions into the App Store.
  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon Posts: 483member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by spunkybart View Post


    This is a negative effect of Apple's change in terms, leading to poorer customer experience and reducing the benefit of the iPad.



    Having the Kindle and Nook apps on the iPad is a big plus. And although the apps are still there, they are being updated to comply with the terms, so there will be no way to buy a book directly from the app now. The user will have to know how to buy the books in the browser (and then do you sync them to the iPad?)



    Bad decision on Apple's part.



    The question is whether this decision will stop you from buying an iDevice in the future?
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 14,680member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post


    Apple really needs to introduce a different charging structure for content resellers if they want to move those transactions into the App Store.



    Not sure of the wisdom of taking iOS users out of the AppStore altogether and sending them to the vendor's site instead. Of course you do have to assume that Apple thought all this thru when they created the rule. FWIW, Apple may not really want Amazon, B&N, etc in the AppStore anyway, which may be part of the reason for the policy in the first place.
  • drobforeverdrobforever Posts: 400member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post


    The question is whether this decision will stop you from buying an iDevice in the future?



    I don't think people buy iPads just to read Kindle books there in the 1st place. Most people who use iPads to read Kindle books are just using the iPads anyway with or without the Kindle app, it's just easier to carry just the iPad instead of both iPad and Kindle, and these users are mostly casual readers who would read for like 15 mins then go back to their Facebook/Twitter apps. Whether they can buy the Kindle books directly from the app or have to go through Safari isn't a big deal because these people usually buy books from their home Macs anyway.
  • kbsbemekbsbeme Posts: 24member
    Those apps add value to Apple devices.



    Apple doesn't handle/store/distribute any of the content like they do through iTunes, therefore they have no right to 30% of sales. That's why we developed iPulpFiction.com as a web app instead of an iPad app. We're a publisher of short stories and we want to keep the costs to consumers down. With prices ranging from just 25¢ to $1, we can't afford to give Apple nearly 1/3 of our revenues.
  • unkown bloggerunkown blogger Posts: 16member
    Let's see. Apple provides the infrastructure to host their apps, but the vendors don't want to support that infrastructure by paying 30% of their price - they want a free ride.



    Now what would they do if they were in Apple's position? I doubt any of them would want to incur costs to support someone else's business, particularly when those businesses are competitors (e.g., Amazon or B&N vs. iBooks).
  • matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    Not sure of the wisdom of taking iOS users out of the AppStore altogether and sending them to the vendor's site instead. Of course you do have to assume that Apple thought all this thru when they created the rule. FWIW, Apple may not really want Amazon, B&N, etc in the AppStore anyway, which may be part of the reason for the policy in the first place.



    THAT and Google Books.
  • jonamacjonamac Posts: 384member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Previously, the company had required that subscriptions sold outside of the App Store umbrella, where the company does not receive a 30 percent cut, to be "at the same price or less than is offered outside the app."



    Does AI even have an editor? Again and again you see these glaring mistakes in their articles. I like the site, but clean up the copy!
  • jkichlinejkichline Posts: 995member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by spunkybart View Post


    This is a negative effect of Apple's change in terms, leading to poorer customer experience and reducing the benefit of the iPad.



    Having the Kindle and Nook apps on the iPad is a big plus. And although the apps are still there, they are being updated to comply with the terms, so there will be no way to buy a book directly from the app now. The user will have to know how to buy the books in the browser (and then do you sync them to the iPad?)



    Bad decision on Apple's part.



    All the button did was open Safari and load amazon.com/kindle. It's not a huge deal with people to do this. Most of these other apps did the same thing anyway.
  • gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,015member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unkown Blogger View Post


    Let's see. Apple provides the infrastructure to host their apps, but the vendors don't want to support that infrastructure by paying 30% of their price - they want a free ride.



    Now what would they do if they were in Apple's position? I doubt any of them would want to incur costs to support someone else's business, particularly when those businesses are competitors (e.g., Amazon or B&N vs. iBooks).





    Emmm, what cost incur Apple when I buy a book from Safari browser?
  • zoolookzoolook Posts: 657member
    Apple are being dicks about this, plain and simple. A 30% cut of content revenue is insane, unsustainable and outright greedy. I am surprised things have gone this far. People may pay a premium for high quality devices, but who wants to pay 30% more every time you buy content.
  • charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,069member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    In February, Apple revised its iOS terms of service and banned such links, requiring all content purchases or subscriptions to go through its own system.



    Not exactly. The rule was that any app that had outside sales of content for the app also had to have in app sales.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zoolook View Post


    Apple are being dicks about this, plain and simple. A 30% cut of content revenue is insane, unsustainable and outright greedy. I am surprised things have gone this far. People may pay a premium for high quality devices, but who wants to pay 30% more every time you buy content.



    So you don't buy any apps for the iphone/ipad, for your Mac via MAS and no itunes media. Cause the same 30% rule applies.



    The developers, studios, labels etc know the rules when they sign up. Including the rule that the rules can be changed. They know the score on the 30% and they agree to it. If they have a problem, they can leave at any time. Who are we to raise a fuss if a developer chooses to play by Apple's rules.
  • erunnoerunno Posts: 225member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zoolook View Post


    but who wants to pay 30% more every time you buy content.



    You don't, the content provider does. Apple was cunning enough to forbid companies to sell items at a higher price in the app store.
  • gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,015member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Erunno View Post


    You don't, the content provider does. Apple was cunning enough to forbid companies to sell items at a higher price in the app store.



    This rule was pulled, they can put the price they want
  • fake_william_shatnerfake_william_shatner Posts: 660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post


    It was always clunky buying books from Amazon on iOS. The Kindle app would spawn off a safari page with Amazon's hideous storefront. If your default device is set as your iDevice then buying the book via the webpage will be absolutely no different now than it was before, except for the lack of a button in the app taking you there.



    Doesn't this REALLY mean that purchases merely GO THROUGH Apple's servers and they get revenue?



    I could imagine that someone could have a $.99 or Free app -- and then after that, buy a million other apps and products -- basically, creating a store within a store.



    So Apple is merely keeping their revenue secure and their store-front. They don't want to merely act like an ISP for the iPad and iPhone.



    The other companies are probably going to challenge this -- so there will probably be a lot of push and pull. I suspect that Apple might ALLOW for out of iTunes selling, if there were some profit-sharing agreement.



    Amazon.com, is basically a storefront with cost markups -- and they suggest they get all the revenues from Apple's storefront within their apps -- THAT is probably not going to happen as long as Apple has enough market share to force the issue.
  • gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,015member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Fake_William_Shatner View Post


    Doesn't this REALLY mean that purchases merely GO THROUGH Apple's servers and they get revenue?



    No, no Apple servers were used
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