Sony submits app that clearly doesn’t follow App Store guidelines, gets rejected, whines to press

“Apple is further tightening its control of the App Store,” Claire Cain Miller and Miguel Helft report for The New York Times. “The company has told some applications developers, including Sony, that they can no longer sell content, like e-books, within their apps, or let customers have access to purchases they have made outside the App Store.”

MacDailyNews Take: Where’s the “tightening?” The App Store never allowed in-app purchases that didn’t go through the proper API. Nor did it prevent stores from selling items outside the app via mobile browser. As John Paczkowski reports for AllThingsD, “Apple’s made no change to its App Store Guidlines, it’s simply enforcing a rule that’s been in them all along: apps that offer purchases elsewhere must support in-app purchases as well. ‘We have not changed our developer terms or guidelines,’ company spokesperson Trudy Miller told me. ‘We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase.'”

Miller and Helft report, “Apple rejected Sony’s iPhone application, which would have let people buy and read e-books bought from the Sony Reader Store. Apple told Sony that from now on, all in-app purchases would have to go through Apple, said Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading division. The move could affect companies like Amazon.com and others that sell e-book readers that compete with Apple’s iPad tablet and offer free mobile apps so customers can read their e-book purchases on other devices. An iPad owner, for instance, has not needed to own a Kindle to read Kindle books bought from Amazon.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Bad reporting. There is no “move.” There is nothing new. Apple’s App Store Guidelines clearly state, “Apps utilizing a system other than the In App Purchase API (IAP) to purchase content, functionality, or services in an app will be rejected. Apps using IAP to purchase physical goods or goods and services used outside of the application will be rejected.” What part of “will be rejected” did Sony not understand? Sony’s developers ought to learn how to read and The New York Times ought to do a better job reporting the facts. Apple is simply enforcing existing rules and making sellers offer iOS users the option of making more convenient In-App purchases.

It’s sad that Sony has been so diminished as to have to resort to trying to use Apple in a wholly transparent play for free publicity, but there you have it.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

62 Comments

  1. By those guidelines though, does the Kindle app not violate the policy? Within the app, you are directed to amazons website to purchase books.

    Whenever I buy a book, I check iBooks to see if it is available. Surprisingly, many are not and I end up getting them from Amazon. I hope that the kindle app is not going to be pulled as well.

  2. This is where the anti-trust dogs are going to be let loose. I’m still unsure of how I feel about this. I understand Apple’s reasoning, but at the same time I feel it’s wrong if Apple were to get a 30% cut of Kindle sales.

  3. You should only have to buy content once, and it should be usable across the spectrum of devices.

    This is where Apple gets a bad name, and where the closed vs open antagonists live. Apple needs to take care of it’s customers, and not force all things through Apple orifices. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”angry” style=”border:0;” />

  4. No MDN your wrong.

    You can buy content directly from amazon and send to your device. Apple is just a bunch of greedy filth pigs with no regard for their customers.

    This is why android tabs and (eventually) Microsoft tabs will overcome. Crap like this and flash and all…

    Hell if Microsoft tried to pull this crap they would have gotten sued for antitrust by the govt

    Apple = the modern Microsoft

  5. Again MDN you’re being an ass. The way those guideline read it will negative affect a bunch of apps that I use such as Kindle, Zinio, and The Economist. And as much of an Apple fan that I am that does not make me happy.

  6. I believe that Amazon’s Kindle app gets around this rule by not actually purchasing the books thru the Kindle App itself. You have to buy the book thru the web and then the Kindle app simply accesses your account at Amazon in order to download it into it’s library on the iPad.

  7. Kindle, zinio, b&n, etc do not use an in-app purchase model. You buy the book outside of the app, through a web browser and it simply syncs to you device. I a assuming this is OK, and different to sony’s model.

  8. @Shifty

    “By those guidelines though, does the Kindle app not violate the policy? Within the app, you are directed to amazons website to purchase books.”

    Did you read your own post. Apple says you cannot be in CA and buy from FL. But if you GO to FL and buy that is OK.

    Buying from WITHIN THE APP vs leaving the app and going on the web and buying….. these are different.

    Apple can filter spam and virus containing material somewhat if it has control.

    Just a thought,
    en

  9. The part about not allowing access to purchases made outside the app store concerns me. I am forced to purchase books for Kindle when the same book is not available in iBooks. I reject the notion that I should not be able to read these books on my iPad.

    Careful here Apple

  10. From ETR: “I believe that Amazon’s Kindle app gets around this rule by not actually purchasing the books thru the Kindle App itself. You have to buy the book thru the web and then the Kindle app simply accesses your account at Amazon in order to download it into it’s library on the iPad.”

    This.

  11. Wow MDN explained it clearly and people still don’t get it.

    It’s simple. If you want to sell digital goods within the App you MUST use the IAP API. If you wish to sell digital goods outside of Apple’s In App Purchase system you MUST do that outside the app. Kindle does this, it’s simply loading a Safari window to their online store complete the purchase.

    Get it yet?

    Looks like the developers at Sony are just morons who don’t read the rules before they program their shit.

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