There’s a lot of angst and speculation around the web this morning after Apple rejected Sony’s ebook reader for the iPhone/iPad.
The reported reason for the rejection – that the app wouldn’t make Apple any money – doesn’t quite feel like the whole story.
Apple has previously approved ebooks apps such as Kindle, Kobo and WHSmith, none of which make it any money, and decided not to make its iBooks app the default built-in reader, instead merely offering it as an optional download from the App Store.
Is it possible that Sony’s app did something different from other ebook apps which complete sales in Safari? Again, we can’t be certain based on the information currently available.
The news has inevitably questions – valid if Sony was only following the established purchasing methods – about the fate of Kindle and other non-iBooks apps.
It’s a brave man who seconded guesses Apple but I can’t see them suddenly pulling the rug from under the likes of Kindle – the PR fallout would be disastrous for them.
On the other hand, if Apple were to move to make iBooks the only/default ebook app now’s probably the best time to do it. The iPad has sold fantastically well but its successor – now probably only weeks away from launch – is likely to sell even better.
Cutting third party ebook stores adrift before a new wave of iPad owners take delivery of their devices compartmentalises the fall out.
As is always the case when Apple extends the higher of the wall around its garden, some speculate about legal action any disgruntled third parties might take.
The problem here is that the biggest potential loser if Apple were to kick ot third party ebook apps is Kindle, yet could Amazon really ask any court to rule against a closed, single retailer ebook platform without creating an instant case for opening up the Kindle to other retailers?
This row poses lots of questions to which only Apple has the answer.
One thing we can probably be certain of though is that the resulting speculation about Apple booting other retailers off the iPad will instantly make those services less attractive for anyone wanting certainty.
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