Wall Street Journal and Kobo Pull Direct Content Sales From iOS Apps [Updated]

The Wall Street Journal reports that it will be removing subscription links from its iPad application, deciding to satisfy Apple's new in-app purchasing and subscription rules by removing the purchase links rather than offering subscriptions through the app with Apple taking a 30% cut.

People who download the app and want to subscribe will have to either call customer service or visit WSJ.com.

"We remain concerned that Apple's own subscription [rules] would create a poor experience for our readers, who would not be able to directly manage their WSJ account or to easily access our content across multiple platforms," a Journal spokeswoman said.

The report also notes that Kobo, the eBook company that has risen to prominence through its affiliation with the now-bankrupt Borders, has pulled direct book sales from within its iOS application.

Mike Serbinis, Kobo's chief executive, said Apple told Kobo Saturday that it could no longer operate its digital bookstore from its Kobo apps and had to stop selling e-books directly through them. Kobo subsequently altered the apps so that they no longer sell digital titles.

Now Kobo customers who want to buy digital books via their Apple devices will have to visit www.kobo.com via Apple's Safari browser to make their purchases, a potentially more laborious process for customers used to buying e-books directly through a Kobo app. Customers will continue to be able to access and read Kobo-purchased books from their library on various Apple devices.

Google's Google Books app for iOS has also disappeared from the App Store, although Google has declined to comment on the reason for the app's removal.


Apple had set a deadline of June 30th for apps to comply with the new rules, but has reportedly been lenient about enforcement as it continues to work with high-profile developers on making their apps compliant. But with the Wall Street Journal, Kobo, and potentially Google's eBooks service all pulling direct content sales from within their apps, it certainly appears that not all of the holdouts are working toward addressing the issue by supporting in-app subscriptions and purchases.

Update: Google Books has returned to the App Store with the link to the company's bookstore removed, although the app's description mentions only "minor enhancements and bug fixes" among the changes included in the update.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
116 months ago
It's a completely dickish move and anyone who approves of Apple of doing this is completely blind and biased.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
116 months ago
What an unnecessary inconvenience Apple. Pure greed. You are forcing startups who rely on a free app and in-app purchases to go the web-app way.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
116 months ago
No surprise, a struggling industry can't afford to give up 30% of it's revenue to apple just for the pleasure of being an iOS app.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
116 months ago
I actually hope Apple comes out last in the mobile arena at the end of the day, just like what happened with Mac OS. They think they can run the world, and have everyone feed off the palm of their hand, and smack them if they try to take too much. Tell me really, how is taking 30% revenue from in-app transactions justifying the costs involved for that one purchase a user is making through an app? Unbelievably greedy.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
116 months ago
Good news! I hope more big names follow suit!
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
116 months ago
Hopefully Apple will adjust it's 30% cut because of this. I have always thought this was a little steep.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple's First MacBook Pro With a Retina Display Will Become 'Obsolete' in 30 Days

Monday June 1, 2020 7:50 am PDT by
If you are still hanging on to a Mid 2012 model of the 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Retina display, and require a new battery or other repairs, be sure to book an appointment with a service provider as soon as possible. In an internal memo today, obtained by MacRumors, Apple has indicated that this particular MacBook Pro model will be marked as "obsolete" worldwide on June 30, 2020, just over...

Tim Cook Addresses George Floyd's Death and Ensuing Protests and Riots as Apple Temporarily Closes Some U.S. Stores

Sunday May 31, 2020 8:04 pm PDT by
Amid unrest in numerous U.S. cities following last week's killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Apple CEO Tim Cook has shared an internal memo with employees (via Bloomberg) addressing the pain that many are feeling and urging others to commit "to creating a better, more just world for everyone." Cook also announced that Apple is making donations to several groups challenging...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.5 Supplemental Update With Security Fix

Monday June 1, 2020 10:56 am PDT by
Apple today released a supplemental update for macOS Catalina 10.15.5, the fifth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October 2019. The supplemental update comes a week after the release of the macOS Catalina 10.15.5 update. ‌macOS Catalina‌ 10.15.5 is a free update that can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the System...

iOS 14 Again Said to Be Compatible With All iPhones Able to Run iOS 13

Monday June 1, 2020 2:08 pm PDT by
iOS 14 will be compatible with all iPhones and iPod touch models able to run iOS 13, according to information shared today by Israeli site The Verifier. The compatibility data was allegedly found in a leaked version of iOS 14 and confirmed by what The Verifier says is a "trusted source from the system development process." iOS 13 is compatible with the iPhone 6s and later, with a full...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.5.1 With Fixes for Recent 'unc0ver' Jailbreak Vulnerability

Monday June 1, 2020 9:58 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.5.1, minor updates that come a little over a week after the release of iOS and iPadOS 13.5, major updates that brought the Exposure Notification API, FaceTime changes, mask-related unlocking updates and more. The iOS and iPadOS 13.5.1 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings >...

Mockups Depict iPhone 12 Lineup Sizes, Relocated SIM Tray

Monday June 1, 2020 1:22 pm PDT by
A series of 3D printed iPhone 12 mockups designed based on leaked schematics and info from Apple's supply chain was today shared by Japanese site Mac Otakara, giving us a first look at what we can expect from the 2020 iPhone lineup. Rumors have suggested Apple will release four iPhone 12 models in 2020: A 5.4-inch iPhone 12, a 6.1-inch iPhone 12, a 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro, and a 6.7-inch...

Five Mac Apps Worth Checking Out - June 2020

Tuesday June 2, 2020 2:25 pm PDT by
Apps developed for the Mac often don't receive as much coverage as apps designed for iPhones and iPads, so we have a series at MacRumors that highlights interesting Mac apps that are worth taking a look at. This month's apps are designed to make working from home a little bit easier. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Meeter (Free) - Working from home often...

Apple Music Joins Music Industry's Blackout Tuesday Awareness Campaign

Tuesday June 2, 2020 1:31 am PDT by
Apple Music has cancelled its Beats 1 radio schedule for Blackout Tuesday and is suggesting that listeners tune in to a radio stream celebrating the best in black music. Blackout Tuesday is a campaign organized by the music industry to support Black Lives Matter after Minneapolis citizen George Floyd was killed by police in the course of his arrest. On launching Apple Music, many users...

6.1-inch 'iPhone 12' Production to Begin in July Ahead of Other 2020 Models

Monday June 1, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Volume production of Apple's forthcoming 6.1-inch "iPhone 12" models will start in July-August ahead of the rest of the company's flagship iPhone lineup this year, according to a new report by DigiTimes. Apple is widely rumored to be launching four new ‌iPhone‌ models in the usual September or October timeframe, although supply constraints and delays in production ramp-up could cause a...

Apple Releases tvOS 13.4.6 for Fourth and Fifth-Generation Apple TV Models

Monday June 1, 2020 9:56 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 13.4.6, a minor update to the tvOS operating system that runs on the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models. tvOS 13.4.6 comes a little over a week after the release of tvOS 13.4.5. tvOS 13.4.6, a free update, can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the Apple TV by going to System > Software Update. Apple TV owners who have automatic software ...