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

post #1 of 117
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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.
post #2 of 117
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.
post #3 of 117
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.
post #4 of 117
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.
post #5 of 117
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.
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post #6 of 117
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.
post #7 of 117
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?
post #8 of 117
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.
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post #9 of 117
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.
post #10 of 117
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.
post #11 of 117
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).
post #12 of 117
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.
post #13 of 117
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!
post #14 of 117
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.
post #15 of 117
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?
post #16 of 117
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.

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Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others.
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post #17 of 117
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.
post #18 of 117
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.
post #19 of 117
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
post #20 of 117
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.
post #21 of 117
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
post #22 of 117
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 is one issue where I think Apple's 30% across the board arrangement is out of wack. Some of these Subscriptions and Content providers are not getting a big markup -- some are.

But I figure, if I get a Comic Book app, and I "buy" a new comic for the kids -- then a 15% markup makes more sense. It shouldn't be ZERO for Apple, but then again, a company like Marvel is selling THEIR content, and the platform is not the reason anyone is buying it.

I think there needs to be differentiation between "selling away" -- basically, making an app store within an app, and CONTENT -- which is defined ahead of time by the application and doesn't do an end-run around the store.
post #23 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwydion View Post

No, no Apple servers were used

Well, it's a poor choice of words on my part.

But basically, they don't want an APPLICATION creating a new storefront on iPads and iPhones -- and I think that is EXACTLY what the danger is with these "in-app" purchases.

It also doesn't guarantee the "walled garden" -- which can cause support issues for Apple -- not that money isn't their main concern.

The BANDWIDTH isn't the issue here -- it's Apple's marketplace they've created.
post #24 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fake_William_Shatner View Post

Well, it's a poor choice of words on my part.

But basically, they don't want an APPLICATION creating a new storefront on iPads and iPhones -- and I think that is EXACTLY what the danger is with these "in-app" purchases.

It also doesn't guarantee the "walled garden" -- which can cause support issues for Apple -- not that money isn't their main concern.

The BANDWIDTH isn't the issue here -- it's Apple's marketplace they've created.

How Safari is a storefront?
post #25 of 117
It seems to me that Apple is asking for too much here. Understood that if Apple is hosting the content and the payment process they should get a cut. But it seems that Apple is preventing other avenues to purchase "content". I think this is too restrictive. It is understandable that Apple wants to control the applications to avoid malware/virus situations, but when it comes to reading content I question it a bit more.

I'm not sure what the solution is, but it seems like Apple's solution is not the best one.

-I AM IQ78
post #26 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by IQ78 View Post

It seems to me that Apple is asking for too much here. Understood that if Apple is hosting the content and the payment process they should get a cut. But it seems that Apple is preventing other avenues to purchase "content".

No, they aren't 'preventing other avenues to purchase "content"'. The article detailed how some of those affected intend to provide "other avenues".

What they are trying to prevent is app publishers circumventing the revenue sharing agreement they entered into when they published their apps through the app store. And, they're even being lenient in that regard by allowing outside, just not in-app, purchase avenues.

As has been pointed out numerous times before, the App Store is not a fee for services system, it's a revenue sharing system. Those like Amazon who post free apps and sell content outside the system are "cheating" on the agreement they made with Apple at the expense of other developers.
post #27 of 117
Its Apples Store . <SOFTWARE>


Its Apples devices <HARDWARE>

If thy don't wanna join at Apple's standard pricing.

Then don't join.


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post #28 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

What they are trying to prevent is app publishers circumventing the revenue sharing agreement they entered into when they published their apps through the app store. And, they're even being lenient in that regard by allowing outside, just not in-app, purchase avenues.

Can you show me where in the App Store rules was nothing about revenue sharing for content synced like Amazon or B&N books purchased on an iMac or in Safari Mobile?
post #29 of 117
Quote:
{Nonsense removed}

Read the quote in the below for my original contribution in this post. Apparently the moderator couldn't decide if he should punish me for a one-word insult or for "writing nonsense" about Apple....
post #30 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by habermas View Post

Look {ad hom removed}, you and the other 1.000+ Apple shareholders that recycle the same tired line are WRONG. It's MY device. I bought it and paid for it and I didn't get a discount for allowing Apple to intervene and suddenly change the rules about how I can use MY device. Understood?

I will report Apple to my local regulatory body to oversee anti-competitive behaviour for this the moment I get the chance.

Well, I guess you told him.
While you're at it you should report Sony(playstation) for controlling how you use YOUR device. Same with the xbox.
The moment you get the chance...
post #31 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post

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!

I've repeatedly suggested the same and gave up. I think they are making plenty of money even with poorly written and sourced stories. Yay, capitalism!

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

 

Get the lowdown on the coming collapse:  http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45010

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post #32 of 117
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.

you do pay that. every time you buy an apple product. why do you think they have so much cash on hand these days? stop complaining.
post #33 of 117
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.

I don't see how it's Apple's fault.

Any of these apps can stay in the store if they decide to sell the product through the Apple store.

Any of these magazines and newspapers could also make an HTML app that goes around all these restrictions and integrates with the web sites that they seem to prefer to push anyway. Ironically, they will reach more people by being on the app store and probably make more money selling through the app store than they will on the web, but if they want to get out of Apple's grip, then lower sales is the price they have to pay.

If you want access to Apple's customers, it's fair to pay Apple for the privilege.
post #34 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwydion View Post

How Safari is a storefront?

The Nook site or the Amazon site on Safari, is a storefront of course.
post #35 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

If you want access to Apple's customers, it's fair to pay Apple for the privilege.

And they already have paid the developer fee for the privilege of having an app in the App Store.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

The Nook site or the Amazon site on Safari, is a storefront of course.


So Apple deserves a cut from Lufthansa if I buy a ticket from Safari Mobile? It is a storefront, isn't?
post #36 of 117
This changes little. Few buy iPads for Amazon, B&N etc anyway. Anyone who says Apple can't make the rules should have read the iOS TOS. Any reseller who thinks they can create their own storefront on iOS devices should have known Apple wasn't going to let it happen without a cut. Either they'll come clamoring back or they'll become irrelevant. Good luck selling books exclusively on the Kindle Nook, etc. Apple's customers will just use the iBook store.
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post #37 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I've repeatedly suggested the same and gave up. I think they are making plenty of money even with poorly written and sourced stories. Yay, capitalism!

I agree, I thought they hired one. It doesn't even take much time. It should be expected, espeically given that AI stories get listed on Google News.
post #38 of 117
Why not just have an in app link to the Kindle store that says "Buy for $10" and an in app purchase option tha says "Buy for $13". How many people would choose to pay 30% more for the convenience of buying "in app".
post #39 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwlaw99 View Post

Why not just have an in app link to the Kindle store that says "Buy for $10" and an in app purchase option tha says "Buy for $13". How many people would choose to pay 30% more for the convenience of buying "in app".

You an't put any link to purchase outside the app
post #40 of 117
I see this from the point of view of a job applicant. There are very few places hiring so the prospective employee agrees to unfriendly terms of employment just to get a job. Work or starve.

Though corporations wouldn't starve, they do realize just how much they would loose by not having an app in the app store, thus they agree to the unfriendly terms.

Though the contract is binding it isn't fair.

Apple doesn't own the internet and shouldn't tell companies they can't send people to some other place on the web to make a purchase. That is what Apple is doing by preventing links to outside of the app locations. This is a first amendment of the US Constitution violation. Apple is restricting the speech of the companies by telling them what they can't say to potential customers. They are not Apple employees or even subcontractors.

The companies should all have their own web apps that can run on the idevices located on their home pages instead of in the app store. That way people can have the apps they want for free and the vendors won't need to bow down to Apple. Is this possible? Are only jail broken devices capable of doing this? I don't own an idevice yet. I just own a Mac right now.

All of the companies should get together and demand Apple change its terms to a pay per click or pay per app download model. If Apple refuses then they should just leave the app store. When Apple looses enough willing participants it will change or just earn less money.

Charging 30% is a huge amount of money considering there is no actual store location. Even shopping malls don't charge anywhere near that amount to their tenants and they have a physical location to maintain. Already the prices of electronic books is outrageous. Selling an e-book for $13.00 instead of buying the paperback version for $2.95 plus free shipping is crazy. If a profit can be made on a physical product selling for $2.95 with free shipping (or even paid shipping), why is an e-book so expensive?

Magazine subscriptions can be had for about 80 cents per issue for a physical item shipped to your mailbox once per month. Some cost a bit more depending on which magazine it is. The online subscriptions are selling for ten times that amount or more and they're still full of advertisements. It's just insane what publishers are expecting people to pay for a few electrons.
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