It seems things are going to get nasty between Apple and some app developers. According to multiple sources, Apple has recently rejected Sony’s e-reader application which would have allowed idevice owners to purchase e-books from Sony E-book store. In a major shift in its policy towards third party applications, Apple is aiming to limit app developers from selling content or let customers access their content they have bought from outside the App Store.
As The New York Times puts it, this new approach could affect many popular applications, including the Kindle for iOS:
Apple told Sony that from now on, all in-app purchases would have to go through Apple, said Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading division. The move could affect companies like Amazon.com and others that sell e-book readers that compete with Apple’s iPad tablet and offer free mobile apps so customers can read their e-book purchases on other devices. An iPad owner, for instance, has not needed to own a Kindle to read Kindle books bought from Amazon.
As Tech Crunch’s MG Siegler explained, Kindle does not exactly allow its users to buy e-books from within its app. At this point, it is not clear whether Apple will be going after Amazon’s application for recognizing e-books people have bought through Amazon and not iTunes. Let’s not forget that forcing Amazon and other companies to go through iTunes to sell their content can boost Apple’s revenue. So far, Amazon and other e-book companies have used Apple’s success with iPad to their advantage to sell their own e-books. Apple won’t be stopping that, but it could simply aim to take its cut from all these transactions.
What Apple may be planning to do sounds annoying, but it is not as bad as what AT&T’s accused of doing. The company has been sued for overcharging (essentially cheating) iPhone and iPad owners. The complaint reads:
AT&T’s billing system for iPhone and iPad data transactions is like a rigged gas pump that charges for a full gallon when it pumps only nine-tenths of a gallon into your car’s tank
AT&T is accused of inflicting phantom charges on its customers. If the accusations prove to be true, AT&T has been rigging the system to maximize its revenue by overcharging its customers. This is way more evil than what Apple is planning to do with third-party content downloads. Isn’t it?
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