updated 04:55 am EST, Tue February 1, 2011
Raises questions over the future of Kindle app
Apple has locked out the Sony Reader app from the App Store for violating its store rules policy, according to a report. The Sony Reader app has already made its debut on the Android Market and was expected to appear on the iOS platform. The reason for the rejection, according to the New York Times, is that the Sony Reader app would have directed users outside of the Apple ecosystem allowing them to purchase their content directly from Sony. According to Apple's App Store rules, any app that offers in-app purchases must go through the official Apple portal.
How this news will affect users of the Amazon Kindle app remains to be seen. Based on the rejection of the Sony Reader app, it would appear that the Amazon Kindle app will have to undergo changes to the way it functions or risk being pulled from the App Store. However, such a move could create a backlash amongst users who have already purchased e-books through the app. In the case of the Sony Reader app users have not yet been affected directly, although it does restrict content delivery choices for users indirectly.
The Kindle app may be immune as it simply pushes users out to the browser to buy books rather than handling titles in-app. As such, it could simply be that Apple is enforcing its existing rules rather than toughening its conditions.
Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey believes that this move could signal a shift in the way that Apple is approaching its business model and the way it can optimize its profitability. In the past, Apple has relied on selling its hardware to turn its profits, with music and other content delivery playing a secondary role.
"Apple started making money with devices. Maybe the new thing that everyone recognizes is the unit economic value is the platform, not the device," said McQuivey.
The move could raise antitrust disputes. It follows a ban on print subscription tie-ins in Europe that has already drawn legal attention. Critics have said the gestures are anti-competitive as they force customers to buy through iTunes with rival stores in place.