Apple Kicks Google Books Off App Store, Is Amazon’s Kindle App Next?

Apple Kicks Google Books Off App Store, Is Amazon’s Kindle App Next?

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.

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  • prof_peabody

    Since the Google app hasn’t been updated in a while, it’s actually *Google* “playing hardball” here, not Apple.  The app was a clear violation, but instead of fixing it, Google left it there waiting for Apple to ban it.  Apple left it alone for quite a long time too.  

    This is Google screwing around with Apple and trying to skew the press in their favour, not the other way around.  

  • aramishero

    Good kick! Kick them All! 

  • Jdsonice

    Let the games begin. And only Apple will be left standing. That is my prediction – no basis just a nice warm gut feeling. Stock price is still up in this declining market.

  • ralphtweety

    This is the downside of exercising lots of control over how things are going to be sold on the App store.  Almost inevitably Apple is going to get egg on it’s face, not just with Google but over time with others.  Apple is used to delivering very consistent and predictable quality of service and product with the stuff they develop – and we end-users really enjoy the realization of that consistency – but to try and wrangle that business model with outside companies and developers is going to be very tricky.  It’s going to interesting.

  • Robert Williams

    Amazon just released a new update that removes the Kindle Store button from the app.  It just showed up on my phone.

  • Ollie Holliday

    I hope the Kindle app doesn’t disappear, I have a few books on there that I have bought and the last thing I want is for them to remove access to them. I bought my iPad for three reasons, Books, Work (well…. studying) and for the ability to watch videos on a bigger screen during those long train journeys. My fiancé has books that we share on there also…. I hope Amazon do something about this rather than it gets taken off.
    I suppose we’ll see who gives in first… like a big game of chicken as John says.

  • Wayne_Luke

    Just downloaded an update to the Kindle app that removes the link to their store. This means it is now in compliance with Apple’s rules. Waiting to see it the Nook app gets updated now.

  • carlospacheco74

    just saw that too, at this point I’m not updating… this sucks!

  • assb10yr5

    Kindle app updated to remove link to their store.

  • Don Pope

    Nobody gives a crap about Google Books, but Kindle is the 800 pound gorilla in the ebook market. I don’t think it would be good for either Apple or Amazon to get the Kindle app kicked out of the AppStore.

  • meixiaoguo
  • CharliK

    Hey John, how much did Google pay you to skew this article to make them look like poor victims of big bully Apple instead of the petulant misbehaving lazy kids that they are. 

    Every developer signs an agreement to follow Apple’s rules and that Apple can change those rules whenever they want and the new rules will be followed. Plus Google was given ample warning and a nice grace period after the deadline. But they didn’t update their app. Further they release it ages ago and haven’t kept up with the current iOS version. Which indicates that they didn’t really care about it beyond perhaps the press they could get over this whole thing. 

    And hell for all we know, Google removed the app themselves because they decided they didn’t want to update it for any reason at all and they would make their store for their tablets only just like Apple did with ibooks. 

  • CharliK

    Actually as I recall, they are only half in compliance. The rule was if you were selling something to be accessed by your app outside of the store you had to have an in app purchasing option as well as the outside method. That rule was never struck down. Just the cost part of it. 

    But yes this is a sign that they are willing to comply

  • zenmene
  • mai duc chung

    The usual idea is that you would use NFC to set up the link between the two devices and then do an automatic hand over to a different protocol for doing the actual transfer of data – eg Bluetooth,iphone 5

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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