You know I like to defend Apple but …

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… it sometimes is pretty impossible. Today, Apple rejected Sony’s eBook Reader application. Why? Because it did not include an ‘in app’ purchase option and instead, like Kindle, Nook, Borders etc etc, took you to a browser and Sony’s site to purchase books. To be sure, ‘in app’ purchasers are much better from a consumer point of view which is why every eBook reader itself offers that. It was Amazon’s big innovation with the Kindle.

But up until now, if a developer puts an ‘in app’ purchase option into an app and the purchase is made through iTunes, then Apple took a 30% cut. So it shouldn’t be any surprise that this will be an issue for booksellers. Of course, if they can still offer the out of app option at a different price, then who cares.

Suffice it to say, Apple are being very confusing here and that is no way to build a platform.

6 Responses to "You know I like to defend Apple but …"
  1. Company with market power seeks to exploit it, likely contrary to its long-term interests.
    In other news, water found to be wet.
    (Yes, that was a smartarse comment, but tech companies with control of their platform have been pulling stunts like this for decades now.  Why does this remotely surprise you?)

  2. I agree that in-app e-book purchases are good for consumers (though I wonder how in-app purchasing via iTunes ID will fit with the amazon e-book purchasing framework, i.e. where purchased books are tied to a handful of kindles/kindle apps and where there are regional variations in stores because of stupid publishers’ copyright arrangements.)
    But you don’t explain why this requirement is either confusing (or at least what is confusing) or no way to build a platform. The same complaints were made when Apple locked up the App Store, but that doesn’t seem to have worked out too badly. What’s the difference here?

  3. What Robert @1 said – they never learn, do they?

    Apple are losing out in new sales to Android, and the reason is they are using their rigid control of the platform to play games like this, rather than exploiting the real advantages of such tight control (close integration of hardware and software, quality control of both).

    As soon as the Chinese start bringing out Android tablets en masse (already starting to happen) and network providers get their act together instead of trying for “exclusive deals” themselves, we’ll smell the sweet smell of tosted apple.

  4. is this a breach of the exclusive dealing provision in the trade practices act (or whatever it’s called now), particularly the third line forcing prohibitions, which are not subject to a the substantial lessening of competition test.

  5. @derrida derider: At the risk of sounding like a fan boy, I have to disagree that ‘we’ll smell the sweet smell of toasted apple’. From what I’ve read none of the current/upcoming Android tablet competitors have got anything on the iPad in terms of quality and/or price. With respect to ‘exploiting the real advantages of such tight control (close integration of hardware, software, quality control of both)’ they are already doing that and they’re miles ahead of everyone else, e.g. compare the quality of apps and ease/confidence of purchasing apps on App store and what they have on Android. I’m not saying all parties will be happy on how Apple uses it’s control over the platform but their business strategy works. They are very confident in their way of doing things. Now I really sound like a fan boy.

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