[Update] Apple Tightens App Store: Rejects Sony’s iPhone App

Update 1: Looks like Apple has responded to this outcry to Digital Daily:

Apple’s made no change to its App Store Guidelines, it’s simply enforcing a rule that’s been in them all along: apps that offer purchases elsewhere must support in-app purchases as well. “We have not changed our developer terms or guidelines,” company spokesperson Trudy Miller told me. “We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase.”

It’s quite simple. Like I said earlier, Apple wants to get its cut from apps by enforcing in-app purchases through them. The option to purchase outside the app is possible too, but in-app purchases must meet Apple Guidelines.

According to a report from the New York Times, Apple seems to have changed their policy on in-app purchases when it comes to content providers. The story reports that Sony’s iPhone app was rejected because it did not meet Apple’s guidelines.

The company has told some applications developers, including Sony, that they 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.

Apple rejected Sony’s iPhone application, which would have let people buy and read e-books bought from the Sony Reader Store.

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.

The move could affect companies like Amazon.com and others that sell e-book readers that compete with Apple’s iPad tablet and offer free mobile apps so customers can read their e-book purchases on other devices. An iPad owner, for instance, has not needed to own a Kindle to read Kindle books bought from Amazon.

If Sony wants to play with over 100 million iOS devices, it will have to revise its application to meet App Store guidelines.

It would be obvious that Apple wants to push its own iBookstore, instead of having users buy books elsewhere. What about users of the Amazon Kindle app? If that popular app is removed I know many people would be furious.

[NYT (registration required)]

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