The House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee has just released a slew of internal documents from Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google as part of its investigation into “Big Tech.” The documents reveal the behind-the-scenes action at large multinational companies, including a few email messages from none other than Apple co-founder Steve Jobs that reveal why iOS users can’t directly buy Kindle books in Amazon’s app.
In one email from November 2010, marketing chief Phil Schiller wrote to Jobs, internet services lead Eddy Cue, and product marketing head Greg Joswiak about how Amazon was marketing the Kindle mobile app at the time as a way to easily read Kindle books across both an iPhone and an Android device. Jobs said, “[i]t’s time for Amazon to decide to use our payment mechanism or bow out [of the App Store],” and followed that with “[a]nd I think it’s time to begin applying this uniformly except for existing subscriptions (but applying it for new ones).”
In another conversation, Cue laid out a draft of new subscription policies for apps on the App Store on February 6th, 2011, days before Apple officially announced the new policies.
Jobs said: “I think this is all pretty simple — iBooks is going to be the only bookstore on iOS devices. We need to hold our heads high. One can read books bought elsewhere, just not buy/rent/subscribe from iOS without paying us, which we acknowledge is prohibitive for many things.”
MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s App Store, which costs money to run, has rules for developers to follow to implement In-App Purchase. Developers are not forced to offer In-App Purchase and some do not, as evidenced by the Amazon Kindle app. Kindle books that users have purchased on Amazon automatically appear in the iOS app. Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime members can select and download Kindle books directly in the iOS app.
More information about Apple’s In-App Purchase here.