Apple’s new push to crack down on ‘buy’ links in apps -- mainly eReaders -- has caused some tensions and upheaval between the company and a number of high-profile names.
The sticking point is a revamped TOS (terms of service) that prohibits developers from including any means of purchasing except for Apple’s specific in-app process. This is explicitly designed to provide Apple with a larger percentage (30%) of any sales made via the apps; this mostly affects eReaders, but audio and video content delivery services and online storage services also frequently use this type of mechanism.
The situation is constantly evolving, but at the time of this writing, there are a number of apps that have yet to resolve the conflict, and a number of others that have decided a 30% loss in revenue is better than the loss of Apple’s 220+ million mobile devices. Hulu, Condé Nast and Hearst Corp., for example, seem to have had little hesitation in agreeing to Apple’s terms, and were in compliance before there was even a danger of being taken off the App Store.
Despite the considerable success of Amazon’s Kindle eReader tablets, the company obviously needs the sales from Apple users. However, as a sort of by-the-books retaliation, Amazon also made accessing the Kindle Store a bit more difficult -- just to give users some motivation to make purchases outside the Kindle iOS app.
Google Books is back in the App Store. Users discovered that Google’s eReader app had disappeared at some point during the weekend, but the retooled app (iOS version 126.96.36.1997) showed up before the end of the day on Monday, in compliance with the new TOS. Likewise, the Nook App, which accesses Barnes & Noble’s extensive online bookstore, has been redesigned to meet the new App Store standards.
The Wall Street Journal, on the other hand, has enjoyed success for years with its Internet pay wall, and simply removed any means of purchasing whatsoever from the WSJ iOS app. Kobo initially felt the sting of the App Store rules, but is developing an HTML5 web-based app to render their iOS app redundant. This method has already been pursued by the Financial Times (FT), and it is a likely choice for several other companies as well.
James Lee Phillips is a Senior Writer & Research Analyst for IBG.com. With offices in Dallas, Las Vegas, and New York, & London, IBG is quickly becoming the leading expert in Internet Marketing, Local Search, SEO, Website Development and Reputation Management. More information can be found at www.ibg.com. Dan Frishberg is The Money Man! He is an expert on investing, online stock trading worldwide and specializes in diversified portfolios.