Earlier today, Apple spokesperson Trudy Miller explained the sudden crackdown on e-reader apps that use an out-of-app billing systems (such as Amazon’s Kindle or Sony’s Reader app) in lieu of in-app purchases in order to sell users content.
“We have not changed our developer terms or guidelines,” Miller said. “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.”
Offending apps have until March 1st to comply or be yanked from the App Store.
It seems, though, from this wording that Amazon and Sony can comply simply by giving users the option of where they want to buy an e-book: directly from them via the web at the lowest price, or through in-app purchases at a higher price to take into account Apple’s 30% cut.
Such a response to Apple’s new rules would certainly make Apple look bad. With every purchase, Amazon would be sending the message that Apple’s in-app purchase system is not only a significantly overpriced to shop for books compared to their own, but more limited as well: buy an in-app ebook, for example, and you won’t be able to read it on other computers through Kindle WhisperSync.
So Amazon and Sony do have a way to respond here, but the bigger problem isn’t offering users the option of making an in-app purchase… it’s getting all of their content libraries approved by Apple as in-app purchases alongside releasing them on their respective e-stores.
Either way, something’s got to bend here.