As Apple officially launches its in-app subscription service, publishers, including Kindle, Hulu, Kobo, and Zinio have been given a June 30 deadline to add the function to their existing apps.
At present, publishers can direct readers to a browser-based book, magazine or film purchase that can then be viewed in the app. Apple, however, is now insisting all apps allow for in-app purchasing, for which publishers must give the company a 30 percent cut. Publishers who do not comply could be removed.
“For existing apps already in the App Store, we are providing a grace period to bring your app into compliance with this guideline,” a memo sent to publishers and published by All Things Digital reads. “To ensure your app remains on the App Store, please submit an update that uses the In App Purchase API for purchasing content, by June 30, 2011.”
The move has already attracted serious criticism, with Sony signaling its intention of removing its music from iTunes after Apple pulled the company’s eBook reader late last month.
”Publishers are being held to ransom by Apple and they are looking for other delivery systems, and we are waiting to see what the next three to five years will hold,” Sony Computer Entertainment CEO, Michael Ephraim recently told The Age.
Virginia Murdoch, founder of Australian eBook platform, Booki.sh, was scathing of moves to force other online booksellers such as Amazon to adhere to its in-app purchasing system.
“If Apple enforces that rule, I think it’s going anger a lot of people,” she told Australian Macworld. “I think Apple would be mad to enforce that kind of rule on Amazon. People buy iPads to read kindle books on, and Apple’s promotion of its iBooks store doesn’t seem to suggest that they’re really serious about publishing.”
Typically, the 30 percent cut required by Apple constitutes the entirety of online publisher’s margins. Murdoch pointed out that Apple’s taking a hard-line approach to this issue may work against the company’s interests in the long run:
“Apple behaving like this may start to turn developers away from app development.”