It's now July, so how come the Amazon Kindle iOS app still contains that 'Kindle Store' link?
There had been a lot of discussion all across the blogosphere relating to Apple's updated App Store guidelines which were to come into force June 30. The guidelines, which were updated in June, read as follows:
11.14 Apps can read or play approved content (specifically magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video) that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app, as long as there is no button or external link in the app to purchase the approved content. Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues for approved content that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app.
This was interpreted by many to mean that a link such as the 'Kindle Store' would no longer be allowed. On June 29, Julianne Pepitone writing for CNN Money had this to say:
June 30 is the deadline for app makers to get in compliance with Apple's strict new rules for in-app payment and subscription links. Apple laid out the first version of its controversial new rules in February, then quietly softened them this month after massive blowback from content companies.
But everyone's still confused about how to interpret the rules -- and as written, the guidelines could get big-name apps like Amazon's Kindle booted from Apple's iTunes App Store. The new rules explicitly prohibit apps that include "external mechanisms for purchases ... such as a 'buy' button that goes to a web site to purchase a digital book."
Apple's revised rules give merchants an "all or nothing" option: They can either use Apple's payment system, or include no mechanism at all for subscriptions and other purchases.
But we're now a week into July and the Kindle app hasn't seen an update (in fact it was last updated April 21, 2011) and the link is still there.
So, what's happened? Was our interpretation of the rules wrong? Has Apple had a change of heart? Is there a Kindle app update in the pipeline? Well, right now it seem that maybe pundits were misinterpreting the rules and that general links to websites (as opposed to a 'buy this book now' link) are allowed.