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Does Apple's newly enforced policy really benefit Apple?

Reactions to Apple's rejection of the Sony Reader indicate Apple might not come out on top of this one.

In the wake of Apple’s rejection of the Sony Reader app, speculations abound as to what it all means and what next steps app companies might take. In the case specifically of ereaders, many are waiting for the Amazon app to fall victim to this same policy (a policy that Apple says isn’t new).

O’Reilly’s Joe Wikert has some advice for Amazon should the shake up head their way: adhere to the in-app purchase rules, but make yourself more attractive than the other guy.

Liza Daly, owner and president of Threepress Consulting, Inc., thinks the whole situation points to the increased importance of an HTML5-based ereader. Granted, her company developed Ibis Reader — an HTML5-based reader. (The system is pretty slick, and with the increased experimentation with books in the cloud, it may just be the next big thing.)

European publishers don’t know what to make of Apple’s latest move and have scheduled a summit in London on Feb. 17 to discuss the situation. The meeting includes newspaper publishers as well, who are feeling particularly “betrayed” by the in-app purchasing policy, as it will directly affect their iPad subscription platforms, and not in a good way.

Whatever it is that Apple is doing — and no one is quite certain of that yet — everyone seems to agree that it’s a game changer. Just what game it’s changing remains to be seen.

TOC: 2011, being held Feb. 14-16, 2011 in New York City, will explore “publishing without boundaries” through a variety of workshops, keynotes and panel sessions.

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Comments: 9

  1. Unfortunately adhering to Apple’s rules simply isn’t possible for publishers. The reason is, the rules are designed for people offering a few books. Not to mention the 30% which is the other thing Apple will never back down from. Essentially it means if Apple chooses to sell books and compete directly

    Imagine if Microsoft taxed 30% for anyone selling a competing office suite on their platform? Bloody murder.

    I have a little more here about Apple’s tactics and what they mean for real developers. As a developer, there is simply no way for anyone with a large catalog to comply with Apple’s directive.

  2. One important thing everyone seems to forget is, they can just say NO to Apple.

    However, they are too greedy to say no, just as greedy as Apple, and therefore will sleep with the devil to make a buck–same problem we have with the U.S. government and many others around the world. Everyone seems to be willing to do anything for a buck instead of standing up for decency and appropriate business tactics.

    I say, tell Apple to kiss your A$$ and pull everything you can from their devices and block their devices form your content–shut them off just as they are doing to everyone else. Remind them of what is was like using a Mac in the 90’s.

  3. Apple’s policy is very much for the benefit of it’s customers.

    If customers want to subscribe to a magazine or any other app or service from an iDevice customers should demand that they be able to do so through their iTunes account and not some third party vendor.


  4. So far it sounds like the purchase option has to be available in-app. I haven’t seen anything about the same content being required both external to the app store and in the app store. So, it could be that the apple store has non-drmed and independent publisher material, compatable with the application, while the publisher specific content remains in their proprietary store.

  5. Sure, I guess the same content doesn’t have to be available, but then if consumers find that option, then they will have a substandard experience.

    Again, Apple has not clarified what the “treatment” has to be for the in-app vs external option. Can the in-app option be more hidden? Does it have to be as prominent? etc.

  6. Anti-competitive act.

    When a company prohibits you from changing something that you bought. Then prohibits you from buying something from someone else to put on it. Then prohibits competition from vendors because they prohibit the user from loading something sold to them – thats an anti-competitive act that would be blatantly illegal in any other industry.

    Actually it would be called out as illegal if microsoft or any other company were to do this. But for some reason Apple thinks it can.

    Why the DOJ hasnt stepped in, I havent a clue. Someone there must be on Apple’s payroll.

  7. This skirmish happened once before with the iTunes Music Store. The labels (and Microsoft, Walmart, Best Buy, etc) couldn’t build another store that paid the labels millions in revenue. Customers were very happy with what Apple offered them, even though they could get music (mp3) in other ways for their Apple devices.

    Apple has now built another huge hit Store that customers are very very happy with. If content providers want access to an affluent, ready-to-spend customer base, and the benefits of the Store that customers love (seamless, easy-to-use discovery, payment, delivery, safety assurance), they need to pay Apple it’s 30% cut. If they don’t want to, they are free to build their own web app (not native app) and use it deliver their content to Apple devices.

    Building a digital Store is far from easy, though Apple may make it look that way. Other than Amazon (for music), no one else has a really successful store making millions for its content providers.

    People have been complaining about the Android Marketplace for months, and just this week, we finally get web access, with IAP coming soon. But little fixes for payment. Why doesn’t Google invest more in its Marketplace? Because it’s hard to do retail, and the ROI is unclear and uncertain.

    The publishing industry should stop complaining like losers, and either go build one themselves or partner with Apple like News Corp just did.

  8. @Jabberwolf: Not an anti-competitive act.

    No content provider has the right to put an App in the App Store. It’s Apple’s store and providers can put Apps in it in accordance with Apple’s rules. If they don’t like the rules, then they can choose the other option, which is…

    Apple offers all content providers the opportunity to offer a “Store” via the web (Safari) for their content. No restrictions whatsoever.

    If you say the web app can’t be as good, then the difference is exactly what Apple has provided in the App Store infrastructure. Content providers don’t get access to Apple’s enormous work for free.

    If you say that Apple didn’t do much to build their Store, then why hasn’t anyone else (other than Amazon) built a successful Store?

    (And if the web option doesn’t satisfy, then you can restrict your App to those who jailbreak, or give up access to Apple’s customer base.)

    As a customer, if you don’t like Apple’s App Store, and you can’t live with just the web, and you don’t want to take on the security risks from jailbreaking, then the Apple World is probably not for you. Apple doesn’t prevent you from trying the other competitors’ platforms and their much lesser-used Stores. Which means competition is alive and well.

  9. The problem for Apple is immaculate conception!
    (Windows / GoogleOS don’t care! To continue the religion metaphor – Jewish )
    Apple does — is that APP you’re about to download pure? It guarantees its purity when conceived in the App store.
    But if that APP is conceived in Sony’s bedroom Apple fears that the bugs in that room may migrate like the AIDS virus into Apple highly pure Nirvana and infect it like a US Army blanket with the small pox virus on top of AIDs. (There are countless stories) The Immunization debate raging in people today will have a different face when their children die.They will change their ‘I’Tune!
    Apple has seen the sloppy work Microsoft Adobe etc does and doesn’t want its name tared with others ineptitude. The guilt will fall on Apple for something Apple did not do!

    Unlike the unscientific debate on immunization in USA Apple knows infections can come from anywhere — see GE’s promulgation of a virus in its own software!! AND FEARS for its Children!