The ripple effect of Apple’s decision to force e-reading apps like Sony Reader and Amazon’s Kindle to at least offer the option of purchasing content as an in-app purchase is already being felt in the publishing world, with several publishers across Europe already planning a summit in London to discuss the threat.
Describing themselves as feeling “betrayed”, the head of the International Newsmedia Marketing Association (a body which represents almost 5,000 members in 80 countries worldwide) are planning to meet with the European Online Publishers Association to “compare notes” on Apple’s new rules.
Why are they so upset? Simple: they have already set up their magazine and newsreader apps to go through their websites, because Apple was refusing to offer an iTunes in-app subscription service. Now, Apple’s introducing such a service… while simultaneously threatening to kick out anyone who doesn’t use it.
“Some say they feel betrayed,” said Gregorz Piechota, European resident of the INMA. “They believed that it would be a great way to access content from newspapers and magazines. So they hyped the iPad, and many of them invested in apps for it.”
“By promoting these apps, they promoted the device. Publishers in fact helped to make the iPad successful on the market.”
I can see their point. All along, they’ve clamored for an iOS subscription service, and Apple wouldn’t comply, so they built their digital businesses around external website payment options. Now Apple has changed everything and is playing hardball with these same publishers who embraced the iPad and iOS despite some of the operating system’s drawbacks. It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out.