Saturday, July 2, 2011

July 1 and Kindle for iPad still has a Buy Button - UPDATE

Appolicious' Phil Hornshaw points out that the Kindle 4 iPad app still shows a Buy button and no option for in-app purchase after the June 30 deadline for removal.

He wonders (me too) "Did the two companies reach some kind of deal, or [was] Apple unwilling to chuck such a popular app as Kindle?"  (See UPDATE.)

We saw that Hulu removed any statement about being able to subscribe to its Hulu Plus and no longer have a link to Hulu's website.  A few others left the app store.  Hornshaw wonders also whther Holu might try to 'change back' now.

Apple and Amazon have been silent.  The day is young though.

I think they probably made a deal -- they both benefit from this too much not to, but you never know with either of these companies.  How will other companies with apps react if Apple seems not to have enforced the much-discussed rule in this case?

UPDATE - Original post was July 1.
  Macworld's Dan Moren and Lex Friedman report that "sources tell Macworld that the deadline was less of a hard-and-fast date than a rough target for bringing apps into line with the new policy."

  They also report that Netflix "sidestepped the restriction" in a way that I had said Amazon certainly could.

  Netflix added a note on the image of its log-in screen that says to "Visit" to sign up if you're not already a member -- WITHOUT a Link.
  Just the Url showing, with no active link.  There's never been a reason that this shouldn't work unless Apple mgmt didn't mind that Apple would look quite weak then, which it would if app developers could not even give the UNlinked-URL of their own websites.

  In the meantime, as of today, the apps for Google Books and for Barnes & Noble still have active links to their own stores.  Macworld writes:
' However, Macworld’s sources can confirm that Apple has been working with various prominent developers to help them ensure their apps comply with the in-app content policies; expect to see updates to these apps in the near future. '

  June 30, 2011 was a 'deadline' for legacy e-reader apps, and if nothing else, it has been a very soft one after all the warnings.   For all we know, Google, B&N and Amazon decided, together or alone, to resist and let Apple get the ensuing media play if it tossed their bookstore apps from the iPad.

  There's also the virtual certainty now that Amazon will be out with its tablets that will be connected to a very strong Amazon ecosystem of streaming media as well as video-enhanced books, and maybe for once Apple will want to even consider making its own iBooks available OUTSIDE its own system, on an Amazon tablet, on which Amazon's massive base of customers will be able to visit Apple's iTunes

 Apple is the ONLY major bookstore which sells e-books that cannot be read on other devices, unlike Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobe, and Amazon.

  Apple also already has links from Amazon to iPad pages for features like the British Library books in enhanced version, and the Amazon Kindle store includes enhanced Kindle books, the features of which can be used ONLY with the Kindle for iPad app currently.

 They are at least potential "partners" on certain features, if battling ones, including 'disagreements' such as Apple's lawsuit against Amazon for using the "appstore" word for Amazon Appstore for Android, because, Apple asserts, the word 'Appstore' would 'confuse' people and make them think they were on the Apple site.
  For all its financial success, Apple often acts like an insecure youngster.

Maybe they'll all just allow portions of their audiences to co-exist on all tablets rather than only Android, WebOS, Windows7, or RIM tablets allowing this while Apple just spends time, alone, in its heavily fortified garden. (The NookColor is another walled-off system and, "unrooted," allows only certain apps rather than the full Android Marketplace and is not a full-fledged tablet, as sold.  I own one and it's very enjoyable for what it is.  For one thing, Youtube is great on it! since the last update.)

I don't think Apple is self-destructively narrow.  But, I often give them too much credit when it comes to playing well with others.

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  1. Apple isn't going to kick out apps that they previously approved under the previous terms—they'd invite a lawsuit. So I think we'll have to wait for an update that has to negotiate approval to see what happens. Not much incentive to update just to remove the store button...and Kindle app was updated not very long ago.

    Likewise, 'special agreements' would seem legally dubious, or inadvisable at the least: other app publishers would no doubt object.

  2. Meanwhile NYTimes has added iTunes IAP to their app:

    This seems to argue against my assumption, but this has mostly been a battle between publishers and Apple, not content resellers like Amazon, B&N, Zinio, Audible etc. Publishers can afford 30%, the latter can't (particularly when they aren't setting the retail prices in a lot of cases). It remains to be seen what the implications are for the latter category.

  3. Tom,
    All my blog entries about Kindle for apps/in-app purchasing at the '30%' level have said the same thing -- it won't happen and Apple had not itself said 30% for the booksellers.

    People looked at some wording in the hidden and unofficial guide Apple never stood behind, which always seemed 'drafty' but was meant as a guide for developers.

    It never made sense that Apple would insist on 100% of of Amazon and B&N's profits on any book, and we had two top executives of Apple saying that the 30% arrangement was about Subscriptions only.

    Now, what they all may have decided among themselves (w/ booksellers) is another thing, but so far no one sees an option to do in-app purchasing. 6/30 was the deadline for having it done, according to the notice to Sony, for legacy apps.

    We'll see but I never felt anyone should believe even Apple would insist on taking 100% of profits on a book. What an invite to fed authorities that would have been.

    Another thing was that people ignored the earlier clarification quotes by Apple, which turned out to be accurate.

    As you say, publishers paying 30% from their own 100% makes some sort of sense. But not for booksellers selling other publishers' books...

    Thanks for the early look at the Cult-of-Mac article.

    It'll be interesting to watch! Some wonder if Amazon called Apple's bluff but I think the two companies are too savvy to go that far. We'll see!

  4. "Apple is the ONLY major bookstore which sells e-books that cannot be read on other devices, unlike Barnes & Noble"

    not so - I understand that B&N books can only be read on the Nook.

  5. Anonymous,
    It IS "so" ! :-)

    B&N books can be read on iPads. They make an app for it. Same with Sony, Kobe, Kindle.

  6. Well, Apple did not allow Sony's app in February and it's a matter of whether or not Sony will ever modify the app to Apple's "pleasure."

    We're all watching all of this, however, and it's definitely interesting.


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