Apple Rejecting All e-Book App Store Submissions? [Updated]
TUAW reports that Apple is now rejecting all e-book iPhone application submissions under the rationale that such applications are commonly used to distribute content to which the applications' authors do not hold publication rights. Rather than taking on the daunting task of assessing publication rights for each application submitted, Apple has apparently chosen to exclude all such applications.
TUAW has learned that Apple has begun rejecting all e-book submissions because "this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing upon third party rights. We have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store." At first glance, this policy seems in line with Apple's approach to applications that promise charitable contributions. Apple cannot police the developers and will not allow possibly fraudulent postings on their store. Apple does not want to be in the position of vetting rights claims.
Apple's policy appears to extend even to developers who are able to prove that they do in fact hold the rights to the content being submitted and to e-book reader applications providing no direct content of their own.
Recent reports regarding Apple's rumored tablet computer have driven speculation that Apple may be interested in entering the e-book market on its own, but industry sources report that the move is unlikely. And while TUAW is careful to note that it has no evidence that Apple is using the rejections to remove competition against a future foray into the e-book market, the move is likely to draw increased scrutiny from regulators already interested in potential anti-competitive actions in both Apple's corporate behavior and ties to AT&T.
Update: Gizmodo reports that Apple has issued a statement denying that it is rejecting e-book application submissions outright and noting that it does contact developers for clarification if there is doubt about whether the developer holds the rights to publish the content included in the submitted application.