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Apple & Amazon Wage War Over In-App eBook Sales

Apple & Amazon Wage War Over In-App eBook Sales

Apparently Apple’s new policy requiring all 3rd party apps that sell content to support in-app purchasing is causing quite a stir with Amazon in addition to the trifle it caused with Sony.  While this is not a new policy for Apple, it is one that hasn’t been strictly enforced in the past.

Apple has now set a date by which all applicable developers must conform to the policy, and that date is March 31.  All apps that do not comply by that time (such as Amazon’s kindle app, possibly) would be removed from the App store until such time as they do.

There’s a big debate here about fairness.  On the one hand, if Amazon conformed to this policy, it’d lose a significant amount of it’s eBook profit margin, having to surrender 30% of eBook revenue to Apple for each eBook purchased on an iDevice from that point forward.  On the other hand, I wouldn’t expect Apple, who is presenting Amazon with an audience that they otherwise might not reach, to allow Amazon a free ride.

Each side has something significant to lost – Apple risks turning off a certain portion of their user base, while Amazon risks losing a significant number of it’s digital purchase customers.  Amazon already alienates a significant portion of their users by not allowing outside eBooks on their Kindle device.

Here’s an interesting quite from GeekBeat.TV, where I sourced the article:

“Of course, tech-heads like you and me will still be a little tweaked that Apple isn’t really playing fair, but let’s be honest – is Amazon playing fair? I mean, say I buy a book in the iBooks application. Can I read that on my Kindle? No, I can’t, as the Kindle is a closed system. Apple is providing an additional distribution method for Amazon, and thinks that they deserve a little kickback for providing it rather than giving them a free ride. Can’t say I blame them for that, to be honest. But how many users are going to balk at Apple’s practices and jump ship to the coming Android Honeycomb tablets? And will that actually be enough users to make a significant dent in Apple’s dominance in that market?”

For more information, I highly recommend checking out GeekBeat’s analysis of the matter, as they have a very balanced perspective, and provide a lot of information, analysis, and opinion that I just couldn’t fit in this article.  It’s a great read.  Time will only tell which of these giants will bow down first, but historically, it hasn’t been Apple doing the bowing.

(Business Insider via GeekBeat)