If you were hoping to be able to buy digital books through Sony's platform on the iPad, kiss that dream goodbye. Apple has rejected Sony's submission of a Reader app because it allows financial transactions to take place outside of Apple. According to a New York Times report, Sony was sent a rejection letter, stating the app violates the App Store rules. According to those regulations, developers are not allowed to offer in-app transactions unless they go through Apple. That is, they must share a cut of all those purchases.
Funny, though, that Amazon's Kindle app allows external purchases, and Apple let that app go through just fine. This decision means that Apple may be looking to crack down on so-called "freemium" apps, which are free to download, but require transactions within the app itself.
To Apple, such apps aren't profitable at all. It earns no money from Kindle books bought on the iPad or iPhone.
But given that the Kindle app was accepted and the Reader app was rejected, it's clear that there are inequities going on in the App Store, and Apple is having trouble keeping consistent with its own rules.
It's just an incredible mess, and we don't expect Sony to take this lying down. Of course, Apple wants its customers to pay for books on its own digital store, so keeping out the competition is to its advantage.
But at what point does it begin to look like Apple is just a big dictator over its platform? Stories like this just hurt its corporate image.