Apple rejected the Sony Reader iOS app

As you might recall, last week Sony released their long awaited ebook app - for Android. I've just learned today that Sony won't be able to offer the iOS app -Apple nixed the app. (See, this is why I don't like app stores.) Sony had announced the apps when they launched their latest Sony Readers back in September. The apps had originally been promised for November, which then got bumped to December, which then got bumped to January.The reason for the delays? Apple. My Sony contact told me that Apple were dragging their feet.

So why was it blocked? I'm not sure, and I'm now hearing a couple different stories. One story going around Twitter was that Sony had their ebookstore integrated into the app and that's why Apple bounced it. I doubt it; everyone else has the ebookstore outside the app (ie Kindle). Sony wouldn't make such a basic error.

The other story I've heard is from the NYTimes (reg req):

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.

Even for Apple, I'm not sure that makes much sense. Yes, we know Apple are trying to get a cut of all things sold on iOS, but going after the reading apps is simply going to fail. Apple are setting themselves up to be in a fight with everyone.

On the upside, I'm looking forward to when Apple tries this with Amazon. You'll know it happened because the next day Amazon will launch their Android App Store.

About Nate Hoffelder (11466 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

4 Comments on Apple rejected the Sony Reader iOS app

  1. Here’s where the fun comes. If Apple has rejected Sony and other developer apps for the reason stated and those apps work similarly to the Kindle app, yet doesn’t now reject the Kindle app, I can see a major lawsuit or two. One would b e from the app developers, but there also could be one from consumers. Also might be an antitrust question — Have Apple and Amazon conspired to lock up the ebook market?

  2. Could be simple bullying rather than a conspiracy.
    Apple, like most bullies, might be pushing around those it knows won’t fight back. Amazon *will* fight back and, worse, Kindle-reading Apple customers will be backing them. With 40% of iPad owners in the Kindle fold (and likely a higher percentage on iPhone/iPod) Apple would be messing with a substantial part of their customers.
    The iPad crowd might merely grumble but a substantial part of the iPhone crowd could easily bolt for an Android phone.
    “Some animals are more equal”.
    If Apple really intends to squash reader apps, Sony, TXTR, Aldiko and Overdrive are likely early targets. Amazon will be the last.
    Also, given Amazon’s highly-visible (token?) public opposition to the Price-fixing scheme, they might be the ones doing the suing if Apple tries to squeeze them out.

  3. Apple has issued a clarification, quoted here:

    Basically, they say that if an app offers access to content purchased elsewhere it *has* to offer in-app purchases through the appstore. Existing apps will be grandfathered until june but if they don’t comply with the mandate they will be delisted. That’s pretty clear, no?

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