Executives from Sony are scrambling to reqroup after Apple rejected the Sony iPhone/iPad book app, apparently because the software did not allow consumers to buy e-books through the iTunes/App store as well. While initial reports claimed that Apple was tightening the commercial restrictions it places on apps, subsequent reports suggest Apple is enforcing app-development rules that are already in place.
Like Amazon and other e-retailers, Sony was hoping to have an app approved that will allow consumers to buy, read and synchronize Sony-purchased e-books on iOS devices. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, it now appears that Apple requires apps that allow consumers to purchase content outside the Apple channel by linking to the web, to also offer access to Apple’s iTunes/App store. It’s not clear that this guideline has been followed or enforced consistently and it is also unclear whether Amazon’s extremely popular iPhone/iPod/iPad apps or apps by other vendors violate this requirement.
There's also been some speculation that this could mean that all apps that provide a sales channel outside the Apple ITunes store may have to report their sales and pay Apple the 30% cut that it takes from purchases made though the iTunes. However, this is not clear.
In a prepared statement, Steve Haber, president of Sony's Digital Reading division, said, “We opened a dialog with Apple to see if we can come up with an equitable resolution for both companies as well as our consumers but reached an impasse at this time. We are working on other solutions to bring the Reader experience to Apple mobile devices. Please stay tuned.”
While Sony has been late to offer an app that will allow Sony Reader owners to read their e-books on Apple devices, Haber acknowledged the apps’ importance. “We understand that many of our customers use Apple Mobile devices in addition to their Readers and they are eagerly awaiting a solution that will allow them to purchase and read Reader Store content on their Apple mobile devices.”