Does this announcement signify the new battlefield in the e-book wars (apologies for that increasingly tired metaphor)? A couple of days after the Sony Reader for Android App was launched, the news has come out that Apple has rejected the Sony app for the iOS. On the Sony Reader store website, Sony has 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."

And the New York Times is quoting Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading division, that Apple has told Sony that henceforth all in-app purchases would have to have to go through Apple's ecosystem (my italics).

Whoa, there. This is a tectonic shift for Apple, whose policy until now is that the more content available on iPads and iPhones (as long as Steve Jobs didn't object to the prurient nature) the more attractive the device would be to consumers. Is Apple now saying the device is no longer the thing? Particularly as Android powered phones and tablets are closing the gap in terms of functionality. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Apple discovered painfully that for computers it was about the software, not the hardware. It may be relearning a similar lesson now that mobiles and tablets are becoming about the platform and content and not the device. 

Android, it should be noted, has just become the global leader in smartphone software (edging out Nokia's Symbian), according to analysts Canalys. Over 32.9m Android devices sold in the last quarter 2010 worldwide to Symbian's 31m. Though let's not put Apple out to pasture yet; it has been doing quite well, with 16.2m iPhones shipped in that same period, up from 8.7m in the fourth quarter 2009. This on top of the about 47m iPads that were sold in 2010. 

If this is indeed Apple's new blanket policy (and there is some doubt on that score) on all types of in-app purchasing, the obvious question is what does this do to the Kindle App, available on the App Store (which, of course, has the same purchasing model as the Sony Reader)—and to a lesser extent Kobo, Stanza, Nook and the other e-book aggregators available as apps? The Kindle in particular has been wildly successful as an app; some estimates say that as much as 30% of all Kindle e-books sales are solely through apps rather than the Kindle device. 

Of course, it may be Apple simply enforcing the letter of the law in its app agreements, with any actual in-app purchases which go through the Apple store are split on the typical 70/30 agency terms. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes argues on ZDnet that Apple was simply doing that with Sony was taking liberties with its app, confining most of the purchasing truly in-app, but not running it through the Apple store. This is unlike Kindle, Nook etc. whose "in-app" purchasing uses Safari and other native iOS applications to access the web and purchase e-books.    

Is this a change of policy and will Apple retroactively change its relationship with the likes of Amazon? Both Apple and Amazon have declined to comment (I should install a keyboard shortcut for that phrase). Yet if that decision is on the cards and it does indicate a sense of, if not panic from Apple, at least an admission that it believes its previous policy of being collaborative with Amazon et al was misguided indeed.  

Comments

  Sony official webstore are

 

Sony official webstore are very less in number,they needs some support from the other brands to make that sony reader famous and can be easily reachable by ordinary people.Sony must take some other action to improve their sales.

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sony had done a great job by

sony had done a great job by launching their readers for working on android applications and it is but obvious that apple would reject it as apple is the only king in market and by launching this sony can be reached more 1 step ahead to the apple.thanks for the post.

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i was wondering what that was on my phone. I was hoping it was a kindle app. But then i went into the store for the reader and ther was virtually nothing in there. So while being in maryland i was looking at this app and reading more into it looking at some health insurance books. Not much to be seen there and the selection was awful maryland health insurance

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The user may decide not to

The user may decide not to install an application whose permission requirements seem excessive or unnecessary. The new Android Market will be rolling out in the coming weeks to Android 2.2 and higher phones around the world. I Can Garden

I have this fone and i am not

I have this fone and i am not happy at all wioth it. i am returning it asap to swap for a htc desire and i'll tell u why. the in call volume is so low u can hardly hear it. with the earphones in its low too........... music is not at all load. it does not have multi touch so most emulators or games u cannot play properly. and it lags. also u are forced to sign up with gmail and u cannot acces microsoft exchange withot 3dr party software nor yahoo without a monthly fee. its crap!

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Actually it sucks the way it

Actually it sucks the way it is now. I cannot access all my books yet. The Sony Tech Dept. from Central America has been working on the problem now ever since the app came out. I’m hopeful every time I look at my apps in the Android Market to see an update for the app. So far, nothing.
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The original Nook provides a black-and-white E Ink display for viewing digital content with most navigation and additional content provided through a color touchscreen. The Nook Color provides a larger, color LCD display. Pages are turned using arrow buttons on each side of the nook. The original Nook connects to Barnes and Noble's digital store through a free connection to AT&T's 3G network or through available Wi-Fi connections. Users can read books without a wireless connection; disconnecting the wireless connection can extend the battery's charge to up to ten days.The device has a MicroSD expansion slot for extra storage and a user-replaceable rechargeable battery. The battery can be charged through either an AC adapter or a micro-USB 2.0 cable, both included with new nooks. The device also includes a web browser, a built-in dictionary, Chess and Sudoku, an audio player, speakers, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
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