Apple has just seemingly banned its first big name app for not playing along with Apple’s revised In-App Purchase rules, as Google’s official Google Books app, which contained a prominent web link to an outside e-store, has disappeared from the App Store. If it has happened to Google, will Amazon’s Kindle app be the next app to disappear?
Introduced in December last year, Google’s Google Books app allowed users to download books through a web-based Google eBooks store. Now it’s gone MIA, and while there’s no direct confirmation from either Google or Apple at this time that it was removed for violating Apple’s new in-app purchase rules (which expressly forbids linking to outside, web-based e-stores) it certainly seems likely, given the fact that Barnes & Noble, Kobo and the Wall Street Journal all rushed out updates over the weekend to comply with Apple.
At this point, the last big-name e-reader on the App Store not to comply with Apple’s rules is Amazon, who is playing a big game of chicken with Apple over their Kindle e-reading software. In truth, it’s hard to imagine how Amazon’s Kindle app could work on iOS without linking to the outside webstore, but expect no mercy from Apple: Amazon has been positioning itself for the last year at least as a direct competitor to Apple, and if Amazon releases an Android-based Kindle tablet later this year, as anticipated, things are going to get ugly quick.