Apple gets Draconian about in-app purchasing

News Richard Goodwin 13:01, 26 Jul 2011

In-app purchasing within apps like Kobo and The Wall Street Journal is no longer allowed on Apple’s iOS platform

Apple has introduced new rules on its iOS platform that will prevent companies like Kobo Inc. and News Corp. from selling content directly to their customers via their respective Apple applications.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Apple told Kobo’s chief executive, Mike Serbinis, that it ‘could no longer operate its digital bookstore from its Kobo apps and had to stop selling e-books directly through them.’

Serbinis, however, indicated his concerns over Apple’s new laws, saying: ‘This will inconvenience those customers accustomed to buying their books directly from our apps on Apple devices.’

The Wall Street Journal will also be amending its subscription services in the wake of Apple’s new content laws. News Corp. said that ‘people who download the app and want to subscribe will have to either call customer service or visit’

Back in February Apple laid out its new terms and conditions for publishers. According to Apple, companies selling digital media, such as e-books, would have to do so via an application. This means that links going outside the application, say, to an external website are no longer allowed.

Apple also confirmed back in February that it would begin taking 30 per cent for all media-related sales, like it currently does with developers.

Many consider Apple’s 70:30 revenue split to be fair. It’s a cost of business, much like printing paper and paying for distribution.

But it’s bound to irritate some publishers and we can see a lot of opportunities for Google in this arena, especially if it makes content selling more attractive to publishers.

Know Your Mobile contacted Amazon about Apple’s new content-selling rules for comment. It’s press office forwarded us to the following statement:

‘In order to comply with recent policy changes by Apple, we've also removed the "Kindle Store" link from within the app that opened Safari and took you to the Kindle Store. You can still shop as you always have - just open Safari and go to If you want, you can bookmark that URL. Your Kindle books will be delivered automatically to your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, just as before.’

Having said that, Amazon needn’t be too worried. It’s Kindle e-book device is selling like hotcakes and the company’s first Android-powered tablet device is expected to land just before the Christmas holidays.

Apple has yet to respond to our questions.


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