Mobile

Could new Apple App Store restrictions spell trouble for Kindle? (Updated)

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Apple may be considering more restrictions for its App Store, which runs counter to the company’s more relaxed stance over the last few months.

The company has reportedly told some developers that it won’t let apps access content purchased outside of the App Store, in addition to continuing its restrictions on in-app purchases, the New York Times reports.

If true, the news could have drastic implications for iPhone and iPad apps like Amazon’s Kindle application, which allows you to read ebooks purchased from Amazon.

The story seems to have stemmed from Apple blocking Sony’s e-reading app, which would have allowed users to read and purchase books from Sony’s Reader Store. I’m not entirely sure why Sony thought it could get away with in-app ebook purchases, as it’s something that Apple has long prevented. To get around that restriction, Amazon’s Kindle app sends users to the web to make purchases.

Honestly, it doesn’t really make much sense for Apple to get more restrictive, especially since it’s trying to be more open to avoid scrutiny from federal regulatory agencies. It’s more likely that Sony just wanted to make a stink about getting its app rejected when it didn’t fully understand Apple’s current rules. So this may not be an example of Apple getting any worse — just Apple being Apple.

Update: A Sony PR representative tells Technologizer that its app didn’t feature in-app purchases, it instead sent users to the web browser like the Kindle app. Curiouser and curiouser, indeed. We’ll have to wait until Apple responds to hear the whole story, but for now, I think the NYT may be overblowing the story.

Update 2: Apple has finally clarified the situation. In a statement to All Things Digital, Apple says that it hasn’t changed its rules, it’s instead going to start enforcing an existing rule that will require apps like Amazon’s Kindle to have in-app purchases, even if the apps direct users to buy content outside of the app. Users won’t be forced to buy content in-app, but the in-app feature must be implemented and Apple will be making its usual 30 percent cut from purchases.

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