Photo: Associated Press
Apple said to Sony they’re not going to allow apps that sell content or allows people to consume content they’ve bought elsewhere.
If this pans out, it could spell disaster for Amazon‘s Kindle, which is much bigger than Apple’s own iBooks app on Apple devices. In any case, it means war. (For example, if Apple does block/remove the Kindle app, we don’t see how Amazon doesn’t sue Apple.) Apple was probably tired of getting clobbered by Kindle and decided to do something.
In fact, it could also potentially spell trouble for Netflix, which also sells/allows people to consume content they’ve bought elsewhere.
Apple had been signaling previously that it would loosen up its hold on the app store, but it looks like it’s moving in the opposite direction. It will be interesting to know if the move was initiated/approved by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who’s on a medical leave of absence but still decides strategic issues for the company.
It’s often thought that the closedness of Apple’s ecosystem comes down to Jobs, but if it’s not just Jobs but the rest of Apple management who wants the app store to stay closed and under control, that could have implications for the future.
Apple’s growing power in media distribution will also likely soon attract regulatory scrutiny. In this and other areas, the company does not have consistent policies: Rather, it allows favoured partners like the Wall Street Journal to do things that it prevents other companies from doing.
If Apple does not block the Kindle on the same grounds as it is blocking Sony, e-readers will be yet another example of this inconsistency. If Apple does block the Kindle, meanwhile, millions of Kindle users will be justifiably outraged.