iPad maker Apple has rejected Sony’s long-expected ebook reader app with reports blaming the ban on the app’s failure to sell books via Apple’s iTunes billing system.
In November the company announced apps for both Google’s Android operating system and Apple’s iPhone and iPad would launch “in December” however in the build-up to Christmas the arrival date was changed to January without any note of explanation.
Late last month the Android version of the app did launch with Sony’s bookstore merely advising that an iPhone version was “coming soon.”
Apple’s rejection of the app was first reported by the New York Times which quotes Steve Haber, President of Sony’s digital reading division, as saying the iPad maker had told the electronics that that from now on, all in-app purchases would have to go through Apple.
Several ebook apps available for the iPad including Kobo and Amazon’s Kindle already bypass iTunes-based billing by completing purchases within the iPad’s built-in browser.
It’s not clear from reports if Sony’s app replicated this process or was attempting to use some other form of sales, such as the in-app display of Sony’s web-based bookstore.
In a statement posted on its ereader site, Sony said: “Unfortunately, with little notice, Apple changed the way it enforces its rules and this will prevent the current version of the Reader™ for iPhone® from being available in the app store. We opened a dialog with Apple to see if we can come up with an equitable resolution but reached an impasse at this time.
“We’re exploring other avenues to bring the Reader experience to Apple mobile devices. We know that many of you are eagerly awaiting the application and we appreciate your continued patience.”
UPDATE: Apple has told tech site All Things Digital that although it has not changed the rules governing apps, it is 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.”
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