back to article Apple clips publishers' wings

Apple is cracking down on applications that provide access to paid content, rejecting anything that looks as though its trying to bypass handing over 30 per cent to Cupertino. Apple gets a 30 per cent cut of anything purchased on the iPhone, or iPad, but iOS applications such as Amazon's Kindle reader and some newspaper …


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  1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    Unacceptable control

    At what point will iFans finally understand that what Apple are doing is unethical. This must be close or past this tipping point, surely.

    1. Cameron Colley

      They don't seem to care.

      "oohhhh, it's shiny!!!" seems to be the only thought they have.

    2. ThomH

      Maybe not calling them iFans would help?

      You know, per the general rule that insulting people tends not to work very well when you're attempting to talk them around to a differing point of view.

      I also think you'll want to argue that what Apple are doing is so disproportionately unethical as to be a sufficient reason to avoid the company's products. All of the competing vendors are also doing at least one unethical thing, so there's an on balance argument to be made.

      1. hitmouse

        Unbalanced argument

        "All of the competing vendors are also doing at least one unethical thing, so there's an on balance argument to be made"

        The familiar "two wrongs make a right" argument.

        1. The Indomitable Gall

          Re: Unbalanced Argument

          " "All of the competing vendors are also doing at least one unethical thing, so there's an on balance argument to be made"

          The familiar "two wrongs make a right" argument. "

          The previous poster was not defending Apple, and his point is valid: if you say "but they're unethical" you will get the answer "everyone is". As he said, you're going to have to present an "on balance" argument to say why Apple's unethical enough that to justify other people giving their money to someone else.

        2. ThomH


          It's nothing like the "two wrongs make a right" argument. That would be to argue that Apple's behaviour is excusable because of an earlier unethical act perpetrated against it. This is the argument that requiring perfect ethics would preclude you from buying absolutely any of the available devices, so an unethical act is not in itself sufficient.

          You seem to have managed to post something to the Internet, so you're almost certainly using a component from an unethical company, whether it's Intel (anti-competitive practices to crush AMD), Google (Wifi sniffing), Microsoft (anti-competitive practices to crush just about everybody), Apple (anti-competitive practices to ensure revenue capture) or somebody else.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maybe not calling them iFans would help?

        <quote>You know, per the general rule that insulting people tends not to work very well when you're attempting to talk them around to a differing point of view.</quote>

        Calling them "iFans" *isn't* insulting. If he wanted to be insulting he could have referred to them as: 'Fanbois', or 'iDiots', or 'Sheeple', or 'crApple-munchers', or 'DumbassApplelovingfashionvictimfucktards', etc...

      3. Tom Maddox Silver badge


        The correct descriptor is "fanbois."

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Peter Gathercole

      This seems unlikely. iPad owners who wish to use it to read books or newspapers probably don't already have a Kindle or similar and so won't have the problem of taking their content between devices. It is likely that they will be able to export books from their iThingy to other formats through iTunes (maybe not but I see no reason why not - once Apple have their 30% they could care less what you do with it)

      Ultimately subscribers will care only about how much they have to pay for their books or subscriptions. How much goes to the publisher and how much to Apple will not be relevant. In fact there is plenty of form for this, ranging from the price of supermarket milk through to the net book agreement.

      1. Haydies

        Apple export?

        Are you joking? Apple export data to a competitors format? what about the drm? Apple don't just want their 30%, they want the next 30%, and the one after that for the rest of your life. If you have 20 items in itunes and you can't get them out then you will buy the next iProduct as well because you have no choice.

        At least with a kindle, if you switch to an android tablet you can get the kindle app. Or for windows, there is no tie in to the kindle device. Infact you don't even need a kindle at all to read a kindle book.

    4. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      How about, if you don't agree, then don't buy Apple stuff?

      Sorry? Yes it is that simple.

      If you don't like TESCO bread, then don't buy bread at TESCO! If you don't like Japanese cars, then don't buy Honda, Toyota, etc.!

      It's a choice thing and as a full grown adult you have that choice available to you! It's quite surprising how many things you DON'T have to buy IF you don't like them or the people that make them!

      ( Yes this is supposed read in a sarcastic tone of voice! )

      1. Wayland Sothcott 1

        No likey, no lighty

        Yes that is true. However it's economics and if they can make better money in-spite of losing a few customers then that's what they will do. That does not make it right, just makes it profitable.

        The Internet expanded due to freedom just as the IBM PC did because of the freedom to make clones. When you own a massive market then you can milk it. But the smart people will leave and start the next big thing. If Google give their mobile OS enough freedom then it will beat Apple.

        As with everything there is a leader like Coke and an underdog like Pepsi. Together they make sure everyone drinks the cool-aid.

  2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Murdoch and Jobs?

    Hopefully these two will be the first ones thrown of the back of the boat when the revolution comes.

    1. hitmouse
      Jobs Horns

      Steve the boatman

      Jobs is taking over from Charon the boatman, so no one dies without him getting a cut.

  3. Piloti
    Jobs Horns

    Anti competitive... ?

    Surely, SURELY, there is something here which can be deemed 'anti-competitive' and therefore fall under the writ of the EU and Nellie Croes. She does little enough as it is, so she does have time to poke around at this.

    The point is, if I buy a device, it is mine, mine I tell you, and I should be able to put on it anything I want. It should not be up to the hardware vendor to decide where I buy my reading material. Apple are a bunch of arrogant f%#@ers who should be stomped on for their communist views of "ownership".


  4. Anonymous Coward

    I laughed

    So if I buy a Panasonic DVD player from Argos, should I notify Panasonic or Argos when I hire a DVD from Blockbusters for them to take their 30% cut of the rental fee or will they just "know"?

    Well done Apple, I have to admire you for having the balls backup up with a sheepish user base to pull this off!

    1. Ammaross Danan

      Not just DVDs

      Just wait until they start charging you for viewing photos not taken with the crappy built-in camera. Perhaps not allowing you to import MP3s into iTunes because they may not be DRMed. May even start blocking video players because you didn't buy a digital license with the DVD through Apple.

      If you've read any previous comments from me on the matter, I've stated it was just a matter of time before they started charging royalties for presenting content on their devices.

  5. TRT Silver badge


    Does that mean my kindle reader will break?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Hopefully Amazon won't let that happen.... Maybe...

      Another "anyone who owns apple-branded gear is a clueless sheep and all of us should be put up against the wall and shot" post, eh?

      Right now any ebook I have purchased from Amazon is available on my Actual Real Live Kindle, the Kindle application on my iPhone, as well as the Kindle reader applications on my Windows notebook, my desktop Mac, my desktop PC, my Olde and Ancient iBook and my Android tablet.

      Not sure how Apple can enforce such a thing unless they pull the Android Store trick of automatically deleting things they suddenly deem "unclean" without sending any warning to the user. As I have no particular brand loyalty, that would give me yet another reason to ditch apple.

      (other than the current reason, which is the fear of being labeled a "fanboi" and forced by the government to wear an apple-shaped patch on all my clothing so that all can see my shame, even though I also use Windows... lol)

      1. Wayland Sothcott 1
        Big Brother

        Gang member ASBOS

        If you join the Apple fanboi gang and wear Apple branded gang clothing then you could be arrested and imprisoned for 2 years. However it's up to the police not the courts to decide if the Apple fanboi gang is a bad thing.

  6. John Styles

    If you want a picture of the future

    ...imagine an immaculately industrially designed boot stamping on a human face— forever

  7. Spasticus


    If you're stupid or rich enough go for it. With all the other tablets coming to market this year Apple's share will start to decrease.

    Written on my iPhad

    1. Steven Knox

      Market Share Decrease

      It already has. See

      On topic, this is exactly why I don't own anything with an apple on it. I take time to decide on my tech purchases, and every time Apple comes out with something compelling (and the iPhone and iPad have some quite compelling features), they go and do something boneheaded like this to the platform before I can convince myself to shell out the dough.

      Note to Steve Jobs: if you want my money, take a few months longer before implementing your insane power grabs.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    > Does that mean my kindle reader will break?

    no that will work fine as its an Amazon product ... if, however, you mean you kindle app for iOS then sounds like you could be in trouble as it appears Apple have rejected a similar app from Sony so I'm sure there will be lots of pressure on Apple now to be consistent and (retrospectively) reject the Kindle app.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    @If you want a picture of the future

    Maybe next time Steve is up on stage spouting about how the latest iThingy is going to change everything etc and all the obedient masses cheer along somone should arrange for someone to run into the auditorium and lob a hammer at him ... I wonder if he'd get the reference.

    Anyway as Orwell said: "The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

    1. Blake St. Claire

      @ac, re:#if you want a picture of the future

      > I wonder if he'd get the reference.

      I'm sure he would. Then he'd laugh and say "that was then, this is now."

      Yes, I own Macs, and an iPod touch (jailbroken). No iPad, no iPhone. When I think about the state of the smartphone ecosystem before the iPhone I have to wonder what that same ecosystem would look like today if the iPhone hadn't come along and raised the bar. Fanboi or no, you have to give Apple, and SJ, a little bit of credit for pulling everyone else up.

      (Hydraulic) Empires usually crumble from within. It takes a while. Witness Microsoft's decline. Someday it will be Apple too. Until then, so long and thanks for all the fish.

      1. Windrose

        Future := new Bleak ; Future.destroy()

        "Fanboi or no, you have to give Apple, and SJ, a little bit of credit for pulling everyone else up."

        Well. Or down, depending on your point of view. BiP (Before iPhone) you could trust engineers to actually provide touch-screen devices with - for me and quite a few others - highly superior resistive technology.

        Post iPhone the buggers are all going fat-finger friendly. From where I'm standin' Apple has done some good, and a damned lot of bad, to the overall smartphone ecosystem.

        And don't mention kinetic scrolling. My BP can't take it :(

        1. John 62

          upvote for the pascal!

          upvote for the pascal!

      2. Wayland Sothcott 1

        iPhone ve earlier Windows Mobile

        The iPhone is fantastic compared to what we had before. It instantly eclipsed pretty much everything in hardware and ease of use terms. However it suffers the Apple lockin and Apple way of doing things. At least now you can get pretty much the same hardware and ease of use from other manufacturers.

    2. Steven Knox

      Hammer Time

      The Show So Far

      SJ "... And then a great hammer came and hit him on the head. .... Wait, I don't remember that..."

      <giant foam hammer to the head>

      <img src="/Design/graphics/icons/comment/go_monty_python.png" />

    3. Paul

      1984/hammer throw

      you can buy inflatable toy hammers. I'm sure it'd be possible to smuggle one in, just need to dress as an athlete appropriately under coat.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Happy iPad owner...

    ...but I'll be buggered if Apple thinks I'm signing up to this useage model. Agree with all the other posters - Apple *are* taking the piss here.

    Sadly, other users will re-enforce the model by paying for content as normal, not caring if Apple takes it's 30%-for-doing-f-all.

    Apple are simply driving the content providers away, and everybody in the chain will lose out.

    1. Andrew Harvey
      Jobs Horns

      Ditto from happy iPhone owner

      I don't mind the walled garden - to SOME degree. And I know it's expensive. But I like it (yes, it's shiny etc.). But this is ridiculous. The DVD player example above is spot on. This is Apple simply abusing its position (even further). Categorically I would not have an iPhone if the Kindle app did not exist for it (I'd be using something Android based). I'd be surprised if they can apply it retrospectively - since it's destroying existing functionality.

      Basically it seems about as anti-competitive as you can get. Well done Apple. Not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ditto from happy iPhone owner

        <quote>I'd be surprised if they can apply it retrospectively - since it's destroying existing functionality.</quote>

        Apple have already pulled this stunt in Belgium:

        So, you'd better bend over and brace yourself for a delivery of Apples 'munificence'.

        1. g e

          Here's an idea

          Insead of saying 'I won't be buying Apple next time around', don't say it at all, just do it and leave them to wonder where the fuck their revenue went without having the chance to prepare/backpedal to retain userbase.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Jobs Horns

          @ AC 13:18

          errr...I think you'll find I *don't* need to accept this at all - it's not a condition of the device. It's just an app as far as I - the user - is concerned. I don't have to install it. I don't have to use it. I can cancel subscriptions. I won't be bending over in the slightest, ta v much.

          As per my original statement - all that will happen is anyone with any common sense will not buy the content if it's delivered by Apple. (I'm assuming the provider will simply ramp up the price by 30% to accomodate the apple tax).

          If Google offer the same content without the "apple tax", that's an immediate 30% costing saving for the user. And the costs are not inconsiderable, if you pay for a daily digital paper, for a year.

          Throw in a rapidly rising competitor market = nobody buying the content through their apple app. Ergo, a mass exodus of content providers from the Apple platform.

          Followed quickly by the users leaving the device itself...if I see other cattle-class train commuters with droid tablets reading the content I *used* to enjoy at a reasonable price on an ipad, I know what my next device will be - and it won't be an iPad. And I won't be alone.

  11. D@v3

    not sure i want to give apple any ideas

    but how does this compare to music...

    "but if you buy a book on a desktop computer and then read it on your iPhone then Apple won't get its pound of flesh – and that's not acceptable."

    What about when I download an album (or buy a CD) from Amazon (or anywhere else for that matter that isn't iTunes), load it into my itunes library, and synch it with my iDevice?

  12. ginger_tosser
    Jobs Horns

    it won't last long...

    once the developers get fed up of coding a nice iOS app, only for it to be rejected they'll just concentrate on developing for Android and/or a nice HTML5 web app.

    No doubt, if that happens then Apple would try to nobble Safari so that it blocks access to web-apps that it has decided to put on a blacklist. If they did then I doubt Apple will be around for much longer and all our iCrap will go the way of our Betamax vids.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      ginger_tosser, you utter boob...

      It was developers screaming for native apps in the first place! Apple initially intended iOS to use web apps . Revisionism at it's best there.

  13. Ian Yates
    Thumb Down

    Time for the publishers to unite

    I think Sony, Amazon, etc. need to take a stand and remove their apps from iOS with an explanation to their consumers about why.

    Everyone I know with an iPad uses the Sony or Kindle Reader and would be pretty upset to lose that ability because Apple were being greedy. Would it be enough to start the consumer boycott until they relax their sphincters? We can only hope.

    This is some of the scariest stuff Apple has done. They've always stated that they restricted users' freedom for their own good; how do they justify this move?

    1. P Zero
      Thumb Up

      VLC did this

      And so many bitched and moaned. I thought it was quite clever, calling Apple out on adding DRM to OSS.

    2. Ammaross Danan

      Letter from Amazon

      Dear Customer;

      We regret to inform you that we, Amazon, as well as many other publishers, will no longer be supplying or supporting apps for the Apple iOS platform. We have removed our apps due to a 30% commission required by Apple which we would have no choice but to pass on to you, the Customer, for continuing use on their platform. However, we fully support apps on other popular platforms such as Windows and AndroidOS. Below are links to our website for information regarding our Kindle reader as well as the Archos 101 tablet.

      Thank you for your understanding.

      Yeah, fake letter, but honestly, would have a serious impact. Why? Likely people have an iPad because there was no alternative at the time. Perhaps they already had an iDevice and wanted consistancy? I think the obvious solution to this 30% tax levy is to pass a margin of that on to the consumer using the iDevice. Perhaps tag which books have or haven't had the AppleTax paid on them, and give end-users the option to pay the extra $$ to view the material on their iDevice reader. Of course, there'd be a little question-mark people can touch to read why they're being charged (again/more) to view the item on the iDevice, at which point this tax levy can be explained. Such negative publicity, as well as being spoon-fed an alternative, is content-provider's best hope, excepting charging EVERYONE just a little bit more to help even the playing field.

  14. Jean-Paul


    I don't really care as an end user, or actually like with Zinio me personally prefers to be able to deal with my magazine subscriptions on the iPad. For now this is between Apple and the Publishers.

    However the moment it starts affecting my existing subscriptions and Apps that I paid for already don't work anymore or if I can't load my own content onto it anymore we are in a different ball game.

    One to watch but I think there is a bit of detail missing in this story as to why they truly rejected the Sony app since there are many many more that have been selling content within. If they really did this they would alienate an existing user base filled with content they paid for and that I just can't believe is happening.

  15. Andy Johnson

    Apple also break the rules

    So, what if I use Apples own Safari to log onto a website and view paid for content ? Does this mean Apple have to remove Safari from the iDevice ? If they didn't then surely they'd be in the Microsoft world of being anti-Competative. They sure are playing a dangerous game.

    I have and iPhone & an Android phone. I like to be able to share content between them. My preference from using both devices is the iPhone but the more Apple does to restrict access to software/content on their platform, the more they erode away my preference for the Apple product.

    I believe 2011 will truely be the year of the tablet with the upcoming Android 3.0 release designed for tablets. Android is picking up speed in the mobile phone market and stupid decisions like this will leave them trailing in both the mobile and tablet markets.

    1. Michael C

      The crux of this issue

      Actually, the issue here is not that you can not buy 3rd party content on iOS. The issue is that you can not use an IN APP process to buy 3rd party content on iOS.

      This is not a money grab, this is not a market control idea. The NYT, Ars, and El Reg all reported this wrong (and others I'm sure). Kindle and Nook (and other) apps PROPERLY use Safari to buy content. This ensures the user in fact sees an SSL security connection, uses an account and password to access the payment system, and downloads a package that is a raw file, not in-app content which could potentially be executable code.

      MANY apps have 3rd party purchase options (all through Safari). MANY apps access paid-for content on 3rd party systems, directly. NO apps are allowed to download 3rd party content into app container files or packages, and NO apps are allowed to make direct connections to payment systems.

      this is a security issue. All sony has to do is allow their app to use safari and this issue goes away and the app is approved. Simple.

      1. Kirbini
        Thumb Up

        Finally, some sanity

        As a previous poster pointed out, there must be some bit of info missing to this story. Thank you Michael C. for providing the first bit of sanity in this thread and the only comment that makes actual sense.

        What this story does prove, once again, is that the Apple Haters are much more rabid than the fanbois. Suppressed jealousy perhaps?

  16. Queos lvl42 mage

    If Microsoft was a bully.....

    ..... what would you call Apple?

    God help us if Apple ever gets into other stuff:

    Apple Refrigerators - Can only be stocked at your local Apple iGrocery Store.

    Apple iFurniture Stores - iCouches have only two of three cushions, if you sit on springs, you're not sitting in the Apple Approved style.

    Apple Arms Co. - Use only Apple-Approved Ammunition from the Apple iGun Store - and God Help You if you hold it wrong and may explode with the use of non-Apple iholsters, iAmmo, iCleaning rods, and... wait, you cannot clean an iGun, only Apple iGunsmiths can. Damn.

    Apple iCar - Everything sealed except for the doors, gas cap and hood can only be opened/filled at the Apple iGas&iGo

    Apple Utilities - 30% 'handling and shipping' charge. Didn't put in the water pipes or electric cable, didn't pump/geenerate it, but if you want Apple-Approved power and water for your Apple Appliances.... 30%.

    Apple iEats - Apple Approved food from Apple iFarms - costs a little more (30%), but you won't find anything unhealthy - it's good for you, just ask us.

    Apple News Corp - All The News We Feel That's Fit to Print and Will Be Good For You In Our Opinion.

    Yup, Microsoft is evil all right. Just another scary bedtime story that fanbois tell their children at night. Don't let the Billyman get you!

    1. Blake St. Claire

      guess what?

      > Apple Utilities - 30% 'handling and shipping' charge. Didn't put in the water pipes or electric

      > cable, didn't pump/geenerate it, but if you want Apple-Approved power and water for your Apple

      > Appliances.... 30%.

      You're obviously not paying attention. Either that or you don't live in the US with our new, improved, deregulated energy industry. My National Grid natural gas bill and my town owned electric company bills both have a "delivery charge" which is separate from the cost of the gas and electricity that I actually used. Not to mention the customer charge that National Grid charges me every month for the "privilege" of being a customer.

      If Apple builds an iCar, with everything sealed, and people flock to it in droves, then what? But again, don't kid yourself. Over here some states are trying to pass "right to repair" laws because car companies like Ford and Volvo are effectively sealing their cars. You can't read the codes yourself and the manufacturers either aren't selling the equipment or it's too expensive for small repair shops to buy.

      1. Queos lvl42 mage

        Oh Yeah?

        You must live in the Motherland of Massachusetts (or a similar state, the northeast or west coast) - I do not have a delivery charge on my one utility because my power is from a private co-op utility company, not government-owned. I even get a small profit-sharing check once a year from them. Your 'delivery charge' is simply a tax - nothing more. Best part is you don't realize it lol.

        You are also wrong about repairing vehicles - Autozone has a OBDII code reader for $59. Saved a lot of cash keeping my vehicles out of the stealerships.

        The thought I have atm is that you're one of those people that has to call a repairman for every damn thing. I.E. Be a man and learn to fix your shit.

  17. DZ-Jay

    The article is wrong

    The article suggests that Apple is cracking down on apps that provide content which is paid for outside the App Store, but this is not true. What Apple is doing is cracking down on apps that provide an in-app purchasing component which does not use the built-in infrastructure. In other words, if an app wants to collect money, it must do so through the provided API and the iTunes store. Apple has said *nothing* regarding content paid for outside the iTunes store.

    Ostensibly this is to protect consumers by preventing rogue or dodgy apps from incurring charges unannounced or unwarranted.

    The Amazon Kindle does not implement in-app payments, but re-directs the user to the Amazon e-commerce site. The user is then invited to pay for the content *outside* the app, and download it into the app. This is why it doesn't violate the rules.

    It is of note that these rules were always in place, but just recently started being enforced.


    1. Titus Aduxass
      Thumb Down


      "It is of note that these rules were always in place, but just recently started being enforced."


      If a rule isn't enforced it;s not a rule.

    2. Eradicate all BB entrants

      in that case....

      ... the new Tesco app is screwed, that provides an in-app purchasing component that Apple wont see a penny from. So how will you buy your Timotei then?

    3. nsld


      Thats exactly what those Belgium newspapers do, have a free app that allows access to content purchased outside the itunes store.

      If its not Apples intention to drive the purchase through iTunes to levy the 30% what is it exactly?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    the consumer will get the same product across all devices...

    ... they will just complain that they have to pay an extra 30% when they buy the same product on iThinkgy.

    as one of coworkers once told me: I am charging a 100, I don't care how much of a margin each one of my customers adds when they resale. I just want my 100 and I won't go lower.

    so why does everybody think that Apple will get their 30% out of the publisher's pocket? why won't the publisher simply increase their rate on the iThingy while leaving it the same on other devices?

  19. gicarey

    Any different from Kindle?

    Hi Folks,

    Whilst I disagree with Apples "restrictions of the source of your data files" approach in general. I wonder if this case is really that much different from vendors of other reading devices?

    As I understand things, with the free Apple iBooks app, you can either buy content from their store, or load in (tethered) files of various formats secured from elsewhere, to read on the device.

    With the Amazon Kindle, you can buy from Amazon, or (again), obtain books from other sources, and load them onto the device for subsequent viewing. Similarly, the Sony device (though IIRC it's a little more open-standards compliant, such that you can pick up eBooks from various stores and read on the device?),

    Thus both iPad and Kindle are tied to a single primary book-selling service, and neither device allows you to bring in secured data files from a range of competitors (barring the "oops" of the Kindle app in the iPad, plus a couple of others).

    So, whilst I don't like it, this particular case appears to be less individual to Apple as the story and riot of "I HATE YOU APPLE" comments might suggest.

  20. DZ-Jay

    Re: The article is wrong

    Just to corroborate my comment, the NY Times article says the following:

    "Apple told Sony that from now on, all in-app purchases would have to go through Apple, said Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading division."

    Followed by:

    "Apple and Amazon declined to comment."

    Therefore, the only thing we know for sure is (as the license agreement stipulates) that all in-app purchases must go through the App Store API. Everything else is exaggeration or speculation.


    1. Quxy
      Thumb Down

      Corroborate? I think not...

      ...since you omit the fact that the NYT article ALSO says "[Apple] has told some applications developers, including Sony, that they can no longer ... let customers have access to purchases they have made outside the App Store."

      The NYT is hardly an infallible source, but what inside information do you have that gives you the confidence to contradict them? Nothing in their story is inconsistent with Apple's past behaviour w/r/t apps.

    2. Michael C

      grey areas.

      the key words here are "IN APP" Kindle, Nook, and many other apps allow 3rd party content, including content apple otherwise sells, with 2 conditions: its accessed through a URL, not a directly integrated 3rd party card processing system (so the user can SEE the SSL encryption, and such is not obfuscated, or potentially bypassed mroe easily) and 2, the book becomes a downloaded raw file in the local file system on the iPhone, as opposed to Sony adding the book inside dedicated app space (which could contain executable code).

      This is not a "you must give us 30%" this is a "you must keep user, device, and card processing security in mind."

      This is a rule published back in April, quite clearly. Sony chose to bypass the storage system likely because they want books purchased on iOS to remain on iOS and only iOS, locked to the account. They chose a payment system as direct thinking it was easier for the user, but in relaity its less secure, and potentially allows a bypass to IAP parental control settings, which is a problem.

      2 simple changes and Sony gets approved.

      1. Ammaross Danan

        Missed the important part of the quote...

        "let customers have access to purchases they have made outside the App Store." - NYT

        Which is obviously stating that if you purchased content outside of the App Store (think of your eBooks with Kindle) you won't be able to access them on your iDevice. Likely, there will be some way to tag in-app content that was purchased through the App Store, but since I don't develope for iOS, I can't fathom what that would be.

  21. nsld
    Jobs Horns

    Apple may have missed the boat

    Rewind to the launch of the iPad, the iPhone 3Gs and 4.0 etc at there peak and Apple could easily say to the content providers that the public have no choice so if you want your content on these peoples igadgets you go through us.

    But now in 2011 the tablet market is broadening, the smartphone market is very mixed and on a per OS basis more people have an Android unit as its available in so many items that Apple dont have the leverage they had a year ago.

    Combine that with a murdoch tie up and I suspect the content providers will either leave in droves or adopt a web page, non app approach to serving content across multiple platforms.

    Ultimately that would be cheaper for the publisher than making multiple platform apps with multiple content feeds, just do an old fashioned website with a log in!

    Apple need apps to keep interest in the products, if they drive away app providers they have to do it themselves.

    It should be relatively easy to go cloudy with a book reader so your content and viewer and in the interwebs and viewed via a browser.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well this means two things for me

    1. I'll not buy any more books from iBooks (thankfully, I only bought two) because they're only of any use on an iOS device.

    2. My next phone will be an Android.

    I like eBooks. They're great for travel but from the days of Peanut Press (now called, my eBooks have always been cross platform. Kindle supports this. Surprisingly, it looks like Sony supports it.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Apple gets a 30 per cent cut of anything purchased on the iPhone?

    So if I use the Tesco shopping app and do £100 worth of grocery shopping, Apple want 30 percent?

    1. Michael C


      They only get 30% if they a) host the additional content downloaded on Apple servers, and b) they process the credit card directly, thus incurring the fees.

      Apps that make purchases by redirecting you to external web sites are fine. Apps that allow purchases of physical goods online are fine. only apps that use in-app purchases to download licensed content or program features have additional restrictions, that being they can't do it in-app unless they use IAP (or use safari externally). This is to ensure the user sees the valuid website and SSL lock, and enters a password on access. Additionally, content downloaded through any source OTHER than IAP must be downloaded to shared disk storage, not inside the app container. Shared file access is sandboxed, and prevents executable code from running, content downloaded inside a package from a 3rd party is a security risk.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo


    How is forcing developers to give you 30% of revenue, with the alternative being not having their application on the platform at all with a revenue of zero, legal?

    If Microsoft turned up tomorrow and said 'You can only sell windows software through us from now on. Oh and we'll take 30% of whatever you make, thanks. Also we won't let you sell anything that either competes with us, circumvents said 30% cut or that we just don't like." the EU would be outside their offices with pitchforks.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple solution.

    The AC that questioned whether or not Apple get a cut of his £100 grocery bill has hit on a simple work around. A Tesco shopping account is already required to use the iPhone app. This account stores the payment details so **no transactions are made through the app**. It is really quite simple. Amazons approach is identical and similar would work for Sony with something akin to WhisperSync. This account can even be setup and managed on the iPhone through it's web browser! In short think outside the box.

    As for the anti-trust caterwauling, so long as there is a browser on the device and as long as Apple continue to support web apps (hey, it was you developers that petulantly demanded native apps!) they have no charge to answer as there is an alternative and one that isn't curated. No one says your app has to be native...

  26. Tron Silver badge

    No restraint of trade legislation in America then?

    Just don't buy Apple stuff. It only encourages them.

    Every time you spend money on the products produced by a company you effectively vote for them, you offer them your support and you bless their business model.

    Take the pledge: No more Apple stuff.

    1. Michael C

      take a different pledge

      Cut through the BS and understand the actual issue before you boycot a company...

      this is NOT content control or a profit grab.

      2 simplerules:

      - You can access 3rd party pay content, but only through a browser, not IN APP, unless it uses the Apple IAP API. This rule ensures users actually see te address the phone is connecting to, that is uses SSL, that there's no man-in-the-middle attack (or something else causing a certificate error that could be a security threat), and that iOS parental controls can prevent the purchase action from happening without a password being required to make the purchase.

      - You can only download non-apple pre-screened content to the local file share (as a raw file, not package content). this prevents executible code from getting into executible space in iOS without apple's approval.

      Kindle and Nook already complied with this policy change back in April, without hassle or issue. Both their apps use web sites for purchases, and file storage for books. Sony chose to violate both clearly documented rules.

      Boycot Sony for using crazy DRM schemes, and trying to lock you in so that Sony book purchases would only work on that ONE iOS device, not up to 5 as fairplay allows, let alone being able to export non-DRM content (which apple DOES sell, at the publisher's option for ebooks, but most publishers require the DRM anyway), and Sony did this in an insecure manner on top.

      1. nsld


        If its not content grab and control why are Apple stopping the Belgium newspaper Apps that allow access to content subscribed from elsewhere? Thats exactly the same as your Kindle explanation yet they have been stopped.

        The point is that Apple are stopping people seeing content they have paid for securely elsewhere unless they use a browser.

        If you want the content viewable via an app you have to pay the iTax so the simple answer is for companies to pull apps and go to browser delivered content, then everyone is happy, no need for the iTax or the waste of time and effort developing an App and the end user still gets to see what they have paid for.

  27. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. The Flying Dutchman


    nuff sed.

    Of course, I hereby claim the copyright and the trademark right.

    Anyone wishing to create an app for filling out tax forms will have to pony up.

    (and probably hand over a 30% cut of any taxes collected to Apple as well)

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This will most likely mean 30% more expensive than by another channel. Effectively a 30% tax on owning an iThingy. This is ... well ... I mean .. recession ... already bargain hunting ... madness.

  30. Nerg

    The facts are slightly different than reported

    Apple hasn't changed anything. Kindle readers won't break. When you buy a book through the kindle reader, you're dropped out the app and into a browser. What Sony was doing was allowing you to purchase directly through the app. That's the key difference. By the terms of service agreement that Sony willing entered into, they are obliged to follow the rules that haven't changed.

    There's a good article here

    Ao can all the rabid anti apple people please check facts before posting your rants that are wrong

    1. Joe 35

      You missed out the bit where apple says....

      ... if you didn't buy the content through us you cannot access it.

      That is, if what Sony says is correct" telling Sony that it “can no longer sell content, like e-books, within their apps, >>>>>>>>or let customers have access to purchases they have made outside the App Store." <<<<<<<<

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Yes, but...

      That still means that Apple want 30% of all sales. That's the bit that I find horrendous.

      This is the same as the Belgium newspaper incident, all sales have to go through, and are controlled by, Apple. They are no longer a vendor of a machine that you buy and then use to access whatever service you like, whenever you like and whatever market price is being sold for...

      They have muscled themselves in between the vendor and the customer for all media content, thereby making themselves a man in the middle when it is current cost-customer practice to eliminate the man in the middle to make the product cheaper. (or in the case of Direct Line insurance, to just say they're cheaper because there's no middle man, and charge you the going rate anyway)

      And 30% is a fair chunk of money, meaning that services via the iPhone will be that much more expensive than other channels. (or at least give the vendor the option to make them that much cheaper through other channels, if they've got their own channel, that is.)

      This just seems to me, to be hideously dangerous for Apple at a time when the iPhone is giving way to Android and blackberry, and the serious pad competition will heat up this year (unlikely that the iPad fortunes will slip back until 2012 at the earliest, though.)

      They're just hoovering up as much cash as they can get their hands on, before the inevitable happens and their popularity wanes. Which is a shame, because if they didn't behave like this, their popularity might out-last the other vendors offerings.

      The question on my mind, is what are they going to do with that cash? Buy up patents? This just reads to be Microsoft only over a shorter time frame.

  31. scoob101
    Jobs Horns

    Where is the court summons?




    What part of "this is anticompettitive, and therefore illegal" don`t apple understand??

    We must draw the line here. No further. This MUST stop.

  32. gunnerjoe

    It's my iPad

    Hi All,

    Not sure Apple is going to have a warm responseto this one. It is my iPad, don't see how they can tell me what I can and cannot read on it.


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