Friday, February 26, 2010

Apple Required Amazon to Remove Book-Buying Portion of iPhone App

Boo for Apple:
If you have an iPhone you know that when you want to buy a book you have to leave the Amazon book reading app to do it. This will not be the case when Apple launches its own bookstore for the iPad, and will thus give Apple a competitive advantage over Amazon and Barnes & Noble. According to the Silicon Valley Insider:

Amazon didn’t built the app this way from the beginning. We have learned that when Amazon first submitted its Kindle application for the iPhone to Apple, Amazon included its own payment system within the app, so customers could just pay for e-books and download them right in the app.

When Apple spotted the payment system, it told Amazon to get rid of it, according to a source familiar with Amazon’s operations.

More information here.

Apple can be quite draconian at times. I can believe the more market power they get, the more they are going to have to be careful or else run afoul of antitrust charges.

Update: It turns out this might not be true after all. And in retrospect, even if it is the experience of buying a Kindle book on the iPhone is hardly difficult. Building an in app purchase vs. using Safari to purchase a book does not pose a significant barrier to customers to download a book from Amazon. This story may be much ado about nothing.

But this does raise the issue that if Apple now tries to disadvantage Kindle app features on the iPad, it may expose itself to antitrust scrutiny. (Not that it would be the only thing Apple does that might trigger this.)

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