Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Apple to Amazon: Give Us a Cut of Your E-Book Profits

Posted by on Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Yesterday, Gizmodo reported on Sony's attempts to get a Sony Reader app approved by Apple:

Sony has told the New York Times that Apple blocked their Reader app, which would let users read their Sony books on iOS devices. Not for a weird reason like private API use, but according to Sony's digital reading president Steve Haber, Apple is mandating that "all in-app purchases" go through Apple.

This has been Apple's policy all along, and the Kindle and Nook apps get around this by going outside the app and linking directly to the web stores. And Apple has released a statement suggesting that this could be the start of an e-book war on the iPad:

Apple has responded to the furor over its supposed App Store policy changes that many believe could affect the popular Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader apps. The company claims it has not changed any of its guidelines given to developers, but it indirectly confirms that accessing content purchased elsewhere could be a no-no if that content isn't also available to be purchased through Apple's own system.

"We have not changed our developer terms or guidelines," Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller told Ars. "We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase."

This is basically Apple demanding their cut of everything sold through apps on the iPad and iPhones, whether it's sold directly or not. There's no way in hell that Amazon is going to let Apple take 30% of every Kindle book sold on the iPad, so does that mean that Apple will reject the Kindle app? Is this an attempt to promote Apple's iBookstore at the expense of all the other readers on the iPad? This could get real messy, real quick.


Comments (10) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
I wonder how long Apple will be able to maintain this walled garden. Lots more competition now than when the iPhone first launched and a lot less of a reason for people to bow to their demands.

I'm just glad I ditched them so I can read these stories with interest instead of annoyance.
Posted by giffy on February 1, 2011 at 12:05 PM · Report this
Dougsf 2
Wonder if we'll see it get to the point where certain devices block access, even via their browser, to certain sites. For a device that's a clear market leader, we might be seeing some lawsuits soon.

And the inverse situation—I don't fully understand the mechanics of it—Hulu recently blocked access from set-top boxes after launching their far inferior pay service Hulu Plus. Unfortunately, I see this happening more in the near future.

It's no mystery why, but technology is so much more capable than content owners will ever allow it to be. The future is never going to get here.
Posted by Dougsf on February 1, 2011 at 12:08 PM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 3
I really like that I get to choose between the iBookstore and Amazon on my iPhone. I will be super pissed if I lose that ability.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on February 1, 2011 at 12:09 PM · Report this
warreno 4
"This is basically Apple demanding their cut of everything sold through apps on the iPad and iPhones, whether it's sold directly or not."

I think demand is too strong a word. What they're asserting is that if you can buy it from the web, you should be able to buy it in-"app" as well. They're not forcing users to buy in-"app", or running the commerce exclusively through the iTunes store, so how does this qualify as extortion?

"This could get real messy, real quick."

Or, you know, not.
Posted by warreno on February 1, 2011 at 1:07 PM · Report this
It's like Apple really wants me to move to Android.
Posted by mpb on February 1, 2011 at 1:50 PM · Report this
Mike Smith 6
Or I could read on the Kindle for PC on my laptop in bed, instead of the somewhat squint-inducing iPhone Kindle app. Or I could use my Kindle. Or one of those what's-it-calleds, um, paperback.

I hate buying things through my iPhone's web browser, or apps, and there's NOTHING I need so desperately that it can't wait until I get to my desktop or laptop.
Posted by Mike Smith on February 1, 2011 at 2:00 PM · Report this
sirkowski 7
The Apple zombies won't care.
Posted by sirkowski on February 1, 2011 at 2:21 PM · Report this
@4 - they do demand it, through the terms of their contract giving you the ability to sell an app legally on their platform.
If they add a term saying that the price has to be the same in both places we'll see the extortion play made.
Posted by walled gardener on February 1, 2011 at 3:10 PM · Report this
Simac 9
Doesn't a Web browser entirely bypass this problem?
Posted by Simac on February 1, 2011 at 4:23 PM · Report this
MarkyMark 10
You guys are hilarious, and knee-jerk predictable. If you don't want an abortion, don't have one; if you don't want an Apple product, don't buy one. Reality intrudes:

Apple on Sony Reader: “We Have Not Chang…

Apple denies claim that Sony Reader, Kin…

I'm weeping for Sony, weeping...
Posted by MarkyMark on February 1, 2011 at 6:59 PM · Report this

Add a comment


Want great deals and a chance to win tickets to the best shows in Seattle? Join The Stranger Presents email list!

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy