Will Kindle App Survive Apple's Deadline for iOS Content Purchasing Compliance?
Earlier this year, Apple rolled out In App Subscriptions for App Store applications, offering content providers a way to provide ongoing content within their applications. As part of that rollout, Apple required that providers offer their content via In App Subscriptions at at least the same rates as other purchasing mechanisms and also barred apps from including links to those alternative external mechanisms, such as "buy" buttons linking out to web-based stores. The regulations were set to apply to both purchased and subscribed content, and would go into effect on June 30th (today) for existing applications.
But with just a few weeks to go before the deadline, Apple backpedaled somewhat, adjusting its App Store terms to allow developers to provide content in their applications without also requiring that the content be made available through In App Purchases/Subscriptions. The company did, however, maintain its exclusion of "buy" buttons linking to external purchasing mechanisms, and presumably continued to demand a June 30th compliance date for existing apps.
Last week, Hulu Plus became one of the highest-profile apps to comply with Apple's new rules, simply removing an external link for signing up for the Hulu Plus service. The revised app complies with Apple's rules by playing outside subscription content without offering an In App Subscription option while also not providing users with a way to subscribe to the service linked from directly within the app.
At the time, it was noted that a number of other high-profile apps had yet to comply with Apple's terms and that some such as Amazon's Kindle app might have significant difficulties doing so given their focus on offering individual eBook purchases. Offering access to a catalog of eBook content with no way to link out for external purchases would mark a relatively significant inconvenience for users trying to make new purchases.
CNN Money reports that Kindle does indeed appear to be in Apple's crosshairs, along with similar eBook services from Barnes & Noble and Borders.
The new rules explicitly prohibit apps that include "external mechanisms for purchases ... such as a 'buy' button that goes to a web site to purchase a digital book."
Amazon's Kindle app prominently features a "Shop in Kindle Store" link, which takes shoppers to Amazon's website. That's verboten under the rules set to take effect Thursday.
Apple and the digital booksellers have remained silent on exactly what is expected to happen today as the new rules take effect, but none of the high-profile applications have yet received updates that would bring them into compliance with the rules.
Apple is not averse, however, to rejecting or removing such applications for non-compliance, as the company demonstrated by rejecting a Sony Reader application earlier this year for its ability to purchase external content without also offering In App Purchasing.