How should Amazon, et al respond to Apple?
Late last night Sony announced that their Reader iOS app was indefinitely delayed. This led to a flurry of posts on all the gadget blogs ( ). A few hours after I wrote my post Ars Technica posted an article on Apple’s response. According to Ars,
"We have not changed our developer terms or guidelines," Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller told Ars. "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."
Apple has decided to enforce a certain rule where all apps have an in-app purchase option, which would mean that Apple would get a 30%. Yes, Apple are pushing for a cut of every transaction on the iPhone or iPad.
Obviously it’s outrageous, but how should Amazon, Kobo, etc respond? They only have until the end of June before they have to update their apps with the in-app option. As I see it, they have a number of options. First, they could knuckle under and simply give Apple the vig. But you know and I know that no one can afford to do that. The next option (my favorite) is to remove the ability to buy content entirely. I like this option because I think half a loaf is better than none. At least this way you’ll be able to read ebooks.Unfortunately, this option would irritate too many users, so it’s out the window.
They could pull their apps from iOS entirely. Some will do just that, but most simply won’t be able to. iOS is too important a platform to simply ignore it. Then again, most of the major ebookstores are ignoring Symbian (another major platform), so I could be wrong. But abandoning iOS would hurt.
At this point the only option left is to add the in-app purchase – with a twist. They can let the user buy from both, but also give them some type of reward for going outside the app. Amazon are the only ebookstore without a rewards program right now, but it wouldn’t take much to add it.
They can also add a checkbox under the settings menu that will automagically send the user outside the app to buy an ebook. I like the checkbox idea because if I have to choose every time to leave the app I won’t want to bother. It’s too much hassle.
What do you think?
image via terriem