Apple recently rejected Sony’s eBook app because it allows users to purchase books outside of iTunes. Apple only allows in-app purchases to be made with iTunes, but Sony allows books to be purchased via a website instead. Amazon’s Kindle app and Barnes and Noble’s Nook app do the same thing. Apple later clarified and said an app can consume content purchased through a website as long as the content is also available via iTunes. This lets Apple get 30% of the ebook purchase price for books purchased in-app.
This will hurt Kindle, Nook, and all other eBook readers on Apple’s devices. Will Amazon and others cave, or take their eReaders off of Apple’s ecosystem? Can eBook sellers afford to give Apple 30%? Or will they just not want to.
My take: This is a mistake on Apple’s part. I understand that Apple wants its cut of the eBook business, but pushing Kindle and others off of iPad and iPhone will drive users to other devices. This seems to be an especially dangerous when a flood of new Honeycomb tablets are about to hit the market. They will advertise as “supporting Kindle”. Saying that Android supports Flash is something that most people won’t understand, but saying that Android devices support Kindle is something users will understand and can drive purchasing decisions. “If I buy an iPad I also have to buy a Kindle to read my eBooks? I’ll take a Xoom please.”