App Store bans direct sales and outside content, is Kindle next? (updated)

App Store bans direct sales and outside content, is Kindle next? (updated)

Summary: Apple is clamping down on apps that sell outside content and provide access to content purchased outside the App Store. Wither Kindle?

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TOPICS: Apple
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Apple is clamping down on apps that sell content outside of its walled garden and has made a two major moves to restrict apps from making revenue without cutting Apple in.

According to the New York Times, Apple has told some developers (including Sony) that they can no longer sell content (like ebooks) inside their apps if they don't use Apple's in-app purchases. Apple recently rejected the Sony iPhone app because it would have have let users buy ebooks from the Sony Reader Store.

Translation: you can't sell stuff in-app without giving Apple a 30 percent commission. Period.

Even more troubling is the news that Apple is telling app developers that providing access to content purchased outside the App Store is also a no-no.

This is a dramatic change of policies for Apple that could have huge implications on other contents that provide access to "outside content." Amazon's Kindle app, for instance, gives users access to books purchased outside of the Apple ecosystem.

Apple is shoring up its revenue/billing policies just one day before News Corp's press conference to announce The Daily, a new iPad app that will reportedly use a new recurring subscription billing model and cost $0.99 per week.

Photo: iLounge

Do you use any iPhone apps that use "outside content?"

Update: Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines state:

  • 11.2 Apps utilizing a system other than the In App Purchase API (IAP) to purchase content, functionality, or services in an app will be rejected
  • 11.3 Apps using IAP to purchase physical goods or goods and services used outside of the application will be rejected

Apple's Trudy Muller tells All Things D's John Paczkowski:

We have not changed our developer terms or guidelines. 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.

So it appears that Apple is just enforcing its old rules. I still find Muller's choice of words peculiar when she says "We are now requiring..." Why didn't she say "We have always required..." instead?

Topic: Apple

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64 comments
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  • Apple is for sheep.

    That's a 30% tax on everything you buy through an apple product?

    Happy you're all so bleating rich. I ain't.
    arq1
    • Compared to the 100+% commission you pay in any other place

      @arq1 Not to defend Apple ... but your rant is laughable when the "tax" you pay for buying anything is usually around 100+% of what the developer makes. <br><br>A 30% commission is acceptable compared to paying 30+% for each middleman (min of 3) in the retail chain.
      wackoae
      • ROFL not true if you distribute your own content

        Like Kindle / Sony / Nook.

        Apple will regret this move, horrible timing. Loosing market share on all fronts, it will only drive consumers towards Android.

        Before all you iphone fans blast away. The longer you and Apple are in denial, the easier it will be for Android to erase iPhone/iPad out of this consumer space. In order to fix a problem you need to recognize it, so far nor Apple nor iPhone fans wanted to deal with Android's success, as it leads in innovation and sales while Apple is forced to follow (LTE/HotSpot/Multitasking/NFC/3D screens/Large screens/customization). The longer you guys take time to acknowledge defeat the easier it will be for Android ecosystem to dwarf what Apple offers.
        Uralbas
      • RE: App Store bans direct sales and outside content, is Kindle next?

        @wackoae

        Does this include Netflix? I'm paying for content not coming from Apple. I'm second guessing on going to an Ipod now.
        VRSpock
      • RE: App Store bans direct sales and outside content, is Kindle next?

        @wackoae 30% is pretty high if they are not providing any marketing, just distribution. IMHO
        bizcad
    • RE: App Store bans direct sales and outside content, is Kindle next?

      @arq1
      Quite happy, I pay for quality, have you seen the Android app store??
      Hasam1991
      • RE: App Store bans direct sales and outside content, is Kindle next?

        @Hasam1991
        I have and use it.
        Excluding games, I can find equal or better apps than I do in the Itunes Store.......
        Your point is?
        ;)
        rhonin
      • RE: App Store bans direct sales and outside content, is Kindle next?

        @Hasam1991 - you pay for visuals. There are two "tower defense" games I know of. One on the iPhone, one on Android. I play them both. The iPhone game, GeoDefense Swarm, has better looking visuals, but both have similar AI applied. Equally ineffective AI, but that's not entirely relevant to divert on right now. The latest version of the iPhone game, 1.6, makes the game look prettier on the iPhone 4 with the higher res screen (of course, there is a slight drop in performance on the 3GS, which I own.)

        Besides, I buy the phone for the phone foremost. Not games, of which Apple and Google will happily take their cut (though if Microsoft demanded xx% when somebody bought a Windows app, everybody would complain through the roof and back, but I digress...) But back to phone quality, which is what these things are supposed to be do first and foremost. On AT&T, a platform I have zero intention of leaving, I've had three phones. iPhone 3GS, Nokia 6350, and a Samsung device that's android-based. I've had dropped calls on the 3GS, but have yet to encounter a single problem with either Nokia or Samsung, and even the pro-iPhone salesman said the Samsung had better reception than the iPhone 4 (that's NOT related to the antennae issue either.)
        HypnoToad72
    • RE: App Store bans direct sales and outside content, is Kindle next?

      @arq1 Apple should just call it the way they want it it's their right and that is way they have such a superior product. Edan Aharony
      EdanAharony
      • RE: App Store bans direct sales and outside content, is Kindle next?

        @EdanAharony And as long as they can find suckers that think they have a superior product, they'll continue to thrive. There's never been a shortage of suckers that are waiting in line to be victimized by smart marketing, and Apple is the king of marketing.
        garyleroy
  • If correct

    as stated, and it remains to be seen exactly how this is going to change the Kindle app, I see a Kindle "web app" in the near future. However, having read a few too many sensationalistic articles regarding the Kindle's imminent banning by Apple, I think I'll take a "wait and see what happens" approach.
    oncall
    • **IT IS NOT CORRECT** This has ALWAYS been Apple's policy..

      @oncall ..ALL in-app purchases MUST go through Apple.. this has ALWAYS been the case.. Sony just tried to pull a fast one and got caught.<br><br>In the Kindle and NOOK apps when you click on a book it takes you to the webpage where you purchase the item OUTSIDE of the app.. if want to do in-app purchase you MUST use Apple's in-app purchase mechanism? and you need to pay the fare for that privilege.<br><br>The devs at Sony are either incredibly stupid or incredibly disingenuous..
      doctorSpoc
      • RE: App Store bans direct sales and outside content, is Kindle next?

        @doctorSpoc
        Exactly - another shoddy piece of "journalism" where they point the finger at greedy Apple without even understanding how the mechanism in question works. Nothing to see here folks.
        Monkeypox
      • Yeah, I thought something stunk here

        @doctorSpoc

        But it was late so I gave Jason a lot of slack. And that was putting aside how Apple could ever police all the apps that access outside data like dropbox and just about every office suite and ebook reader app for free versus purchased content. Yeah the very thought is ludicrous isn't it?

        It really sounds to me like this is a play by Sony to promote their products, seeing as how Sony's ebook are all the rage anyway had there not been a Kindle link it wouldn't have even qualified as news. You know what, I own a Kindle and I am pretty sure there is no iBook or iBookstore app available for it and I assume the Sony ebook reader as well, so I am going to cut Apple a lot of slack here until things are clarified.
        oncall
  • RE: App Store bans direct sales and outside content, is Kindle next?

    I have Kindle for iPhone and my Mac. If Apple screws up Kindle, I will just go with Amazon. Amazon's policies seem a little better anyway and they have WAY more content & they're a cool company! Apple can do some really stupid things sometimes in the name of profit and not supporting their Mac base. If you want examples, just ask.
    GSavage777
  • Shanghai China

    Did you see this story:
    http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/31/apple-job-posting-calls-for-another-lte-expert/

    Apple is looking for an LTE Designer (a 4G engineer).

    Notice the location is Shanghai China, and only available to Chinese engineers. As you ship the manufacturing out to China, so the engineering jobs go too.
    guihombre
    • laughable

      @guihombre
      apple has always had engineering/marketing/design jobs at their multiple branches around the world. your FUD attempt is weak.
      banned from zdnet
  • RE: App Store bans direct sales and outside content, is Kindle next?

    ok. Well i dont approve of this at all.

    But, what about apps that link to a website if you want to buy content through the site (say amazon sony or what ever), then the app (which is also linked to your account on the site) downloads any content that you purchase.

    This would then allow you to purchase mp3s ebooks out of the apple ecosystem but the free app on you phone links to your web account to download the content.

    This action by apple may have something to do with making sure its users ant scammed by any applications and then ask apple for compensation since the app should have been 'vetted'
    Will T
    • Stockholm Syndrome

      "This action by apple may have something to do with making sure its users ant scammed by any applications and then ask apple for compensation since the app should have been 'vetted' "

      Does Sony Reader fit this category? Are Sony a scammer???

      Really, I think some of you Apple fans have Stockholm syndrome. Whenever Apple scr**s you over, you make excuses for them.

      Whereas the majority of people just go buy something else and wash their hands of them. (ex iPod user).

      This is why Android is wiping the floor with them.
      guihombre
      • RE: App Store bans direct sales and outside content, is Kindle next?

        @guihombre
        Well of course i dont think Sony are scammers,
        There will be two things to this, one will be apple seeing they can make an extra buck, the other is they should be seen to be consistent (i know they have been incredibly inconsistent in the past), but they will say that if they let the big companies through, but not the little ones, then why? and do 'we' (as in the customers of apple, myself thankfully not included) expect apple to see if every little company is 100% legit even if the payments we make are not going through apple.
        Will T