Apple outlaws Sony app
Tuesday, 01 February 2011

Apple has rejected an iPhone app submission from Sony that would have enabled people to buy e-books from the Sony Reader Store. This Reader app has obvious similarity to the Kindle app - so is it in danger of being banned too?

The short answer might be no because the apps use different models - Amazon's Kindle app conforms to Apple's policy while Sony's submission overstepped the boundaries.

The Kindle App for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, which like all OSi apps can only be downloaded from the iTunes store and are therefore at the mercy of Apple's policy. However the Kindle apps don't let the user browse for and buy content within the app. To do this you have to move to a web browser and go to the Amazon website to make purchases. It therefore doesn't have the in-app purchasing capability that was the special feature of the Sony app which allowed iPhone users to make purchases of Sony ebooks directly from their phones. 

Apple only allows in app purchases to go through its iTunes store and hence it gets a cut of the profits. Presumably Sony thought that Apple would turn a blnd eye to its use of in app purchasing of ebooks because it was a service to the end user. It is clearly much easier to buy book from within the reader rather than having to swap applications and browse to a website.

 

So it looks as if the rejection of the Sony reader is within the original Apple rules and not part of a new attitude towards eReaders in general.  However it still raises the question of why Apple can make it more difficult for me to buy a book from an ebook store simply because it doesn't fit with its profit-making rules. The answer is, of course, because Apple owns the platform and this isn't negotiable.

Of course this could be the opening salvo in an attempt for Apple to gain 30% of the profit of anything sold even outside of an app. If this is the case then Kindle and other ebook readers are in danger of being thrown out of the app store.


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