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Amazon, Google Cave To Apple, Drop In-App Buttons 307

Posted by timothy
from the you-wanna-play-in-our-hothouse dept.
CWmike writes "Amazon bowed on Monday to Apple's newest App Store rules, and removed a link in its iPhone and iPad Kindle apps that took customers directly to its online store. The move was required to comply with new rules designed to block developers from evading the 30% cut that Apple takes from in-app purchases. In February, Apple CEO Steve Jobs laid down the law. 'Our philosophy is simple — when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30% share,' said Jobs in a statement released Feb. 15. 'When the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100% and Apple earns nothing.' Rhapsody updated its iPhone app last week to, among other things, remove the in-app subscribing link. Also on Monday, Google complied with Apple's new rules when it re-released Google Books — which had been yanked from the App Store — minus an in-app purchasing button."
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Amazon, Google Cave To Apple, Drop In-App Buttons

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  • Customers bowed on Monday to Apple's newest App Store rules, and removed iPhone and iPad from their shopping lists. The move was required to comply with new rules designed to block Apple's competitors from making iDevices worth having.
  • by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Monday July 25, 2011 @07:20PM (#36877494)

    Oh wait......my mistake. Carry on.......

  • The only question is, is this the worst thing that Steve Jobs has ever done, or just the worst thing lately?

  • Holy crap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Monday July 25, 2011 @07:20PM (#36877504)
    They get a 30% share? that's nuts. It's a shame that their hardware is such a social status symbol for so many people. Dictator Jobs certainly has a nice scam going on.
    • Livers procured from 16 year old Chinese virgins are expensive.

    • Re:Holy crap (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PRMan (959735) on Monday July 25, 2011 @07:32PM (#36877632)
      So, can Amazon just raise all Kindle prices by 30% when accessed by an iPad? Seems like the only fair thing to do. I'd be happy to get a 30% discount on my Android tablet.
      • by schwit1 (797399)

        Apple would get 30% or THAT 30%

      • by Microlith (54737)

        That would simply give Apple's iBooks a 30% advantage. This is just Apple fucking with people they see as competitors, and abusing their lock on the iProduct userbase to do so.

        • by node 3 (115640)

          That would simply give Apple's iBooks a 30% advantage. This is just Apple fucking with people they see as competitors, and abusing their lock on the iProduct userbase to do so.

          How, exactly, is this abuse? What stores are you aware of that don't put some sort of mark up on the products they sell?

          If you want to use the In App system, you pay Apple, if you don't, you don't. That's fair. The ban on links isn't about "fucking" with anyone, it's about maintaining the user experience of iOS. It's jarring to have an app kick you out to Safari. That's one of the points Apple made when they introduced iAds.

          • by reason (39714)

            It's not as straightforward as that. Apple now won't allow app vendors to include a link to their website in their apps, which they have done in the past to avoid using the In App system. And by all reports (http://cnet.co/apple-app-no-buy-link-cnet), "Aside from not having any links to an e-bookstore, you can't even mention your Web site or explain to readers from within the app how to purchase books and get them onto the device."

          • Re:Holy crap (Score:4, Insightful)

            by cgenman (325138) on Monday July 25, 2011 @09:15PM (#36878678) Homepage

            Actually, if you want to use Apple's system, you pay Apple. If you don't want to use Apple's system, you can't sell digital items through your app. These vendors were only kicking you out to Safari because they had to in order to avoid Apple's 30% credit card processing fee (most processing fees are on the order of 1.5 - 2%). Before Apple launched their system, there were apps that accepted credit cards just fine. You can buy with a credit card in Amazon's integrated shopping app, just like any other Amazon service, because they sell physical goods. The experience is fine. But digital goods Apple takes a cut of (and doesn't even provide download hosting).

            The worst abuse comes from iBooks specifically. Say that a publisher offers an ebook version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows wholesale for 10 dollars. And don't think you can argue them down: all of the major ebook retailers have clauses in their contracts that specify that publishers can't sell to other people for less than they're selling to them. So that's 10$. Say that a company needs to make 1$ per transaction to survive as a business.

            Apple is charged the usual credit card processing rate of 2%. Therefore, they sell their copies of Harry Potter at $11.25. You, on the other hand, have to pay Apple (your competitor) a credit card processing fee of 30%. Therefore, you have to sell your copy of Harry Potter at $14.30. Even if you squeezed your 10% margin down to nothing, you couldn't come close to competing with Apple's prices. And if you did, you'd just be sending money off to your competitor, who could plow that back into improving their ebook store.

            The same is true of iTunes, and anything else that Apple decides they might like to sell on their phones. They already have the built-in advantages of being able to pre-load whatever they'd like onto your phone, and being able to tailor the OS to suit their apps. Any e-market that Apple enters on the iPhone is basically owned by Apple.

            It's not Apple's phone. It's your customer's phones. They buy them, pay for them. Apple isn't pre-loading your app or anything like that, they're just making it available on the customer's request. And they ban your customers from getting your app any other way. They even have the legal power to arrest people for getting your app in other ways, though they have yet to do this.

            • by Microlith (54737)

              They even have the legal power to arrest people for getting your app in other ways, though they have yet to do this.

              Not yet. They wanted desperately the ability to slap down anyone distributing a jailbreak, but the Library of Congress exempted jailbreaking, temporarily at least.

              So you're close, they want that power. They don't have it, yet.

      • Re:Holy crap (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Excelsior (164338) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:06PM (#36878052)

        No, you have to charge 43% extra to break even when Apple takes a 30% cut. For instance, if a book is 1.00 normally, you need to charge 1.43 because 1.43 * .3 = .429. This means the margin is so high it's not even close to competitive with Apple's own products.

      • by Ziwcam (766621)
        IIRC, there's already terms in the agreement to prevent this behavior.
      • by cgenman (325138)

        No, actually. By Apple decree, you must keep the same or lower prices on all in-app purchases that users could purchase on other platforms. Amazon could raise ALL of their prices by 30%, or they can attempt to eat the difference, or they can hide the in-app purchase option on some hideously obscure menu option. Or, as is the american way, they can sue.

        I suspect the response will be a combination of things, but especially the suing.

        • Apple has removed the price restrictions. Now this is only about strangling competition on their own platforms, not across the board.

    • by Sancho (17056) *

      It's a shame that their hardware is such a social status symbol for so many people.

      That is a shame. It's also a shame that the device and OS are really quite nice. Or to direct our negative emotions more appropriately, it's a shame that Apple is so heavy-handed with their App Store policies and policy against letting the user install things from outside of said store.

      The iPad is the most responsive tablet device I've used. Its browser is fantastic (though there are aspects of the Android browser that I prefer.) The email client is light-years ahead of Android's (though that's a relati

      • You really prefer the iPad E-mail client over k-9 for example? Or do you just mean the built-in client on most devices?

        • by Sancho (17056) *

          It's definitely better than any of the built-in clients I've seen. It's better than K-9 if for no other reason than the fact that it has threading.

          I like K-9 Mail's handling of folders pretty well, but it's a heck of a lot of micromanagement. Once it's set up, it's pretty nice, but I've never had an Android upgrade go smoothly and have always had to wipe my device and restore. I've never successfully restored K-9's settings, so I eventually stopped configuring K-9 more than necessary to just get my mail.

    • They get a 30% share? that's nuts.

      Yeah, the good people at Google and Amazon only get 30%!!

      • by cgenman (325138)

        Google and Amazon take about 30% of apps that are purchased directly on their stores. They don't get a 30% cut of in-app purchase transactions that don't involve them. They also both allow other stores / marketplaces onto their devices... The Amazon marketplace is available from WITHIN the Google marketplace, for example.

        Now, a lot of what is in the Android Marketplace is ad-supported, with ads being Google's specialty. But that's an optional thing.

        • Amazon also gets at least 30% of everything you download for your Kindle, be it eBooks or Blog subscriptions they sell at whatever price they set. Before the broo-hah Apple their share was even larger. And if they didn't lock their devices down in a way that makes Apple look like Amnesty International, they'd surely ask 30% for everything you buy from any apps on them too. Funny how that is obviously unknown on Slashdot - how else could it be explained that nobody ever mentions it?
  • ...correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't this mean that I can make 30% more per sale if I develop for some platform other than Apple?

    • Assuming your prices are the same on every device. Or, you could raise prices appropriately for people on iOS devices and make the same amount for any purchase. Just the people using iOS devices would pay more for the same thing (which apparently is not a problem for them anyway, since they already bought the Apple hardware).

      • Re:Ok, so.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hibiki_r (649814) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:08PM (#36878072)

        If I understand it correctly though, Apple doesn't just want 30% off of your purchases made through something you downloaded in the app store: If you create an account through your app downloading in the app store, Apple wants to claim 30% of what that customer pays for, ever. Charging someone 30% more than the rest because he happened to sign up to your service originally though an Appstore app doesn't seem to make much sense from a retailer POV.

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        Good point.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by node 3 (115640)

      ...correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't this mean that I can make 30% more per sale if I develop for some platform other than Apple?

      That depends. Are you going to use an established store? Because they all take commission. And if you aren't going to use a store, you'll have overhead involved with billing and sales and support.

      The next question is how many sales you can expect to make developing for some other platform. 70% of a large number is better than 84% of a small number.

    • ...correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't this mean that I can make 30% more per sale if I develop for some platform other than Apple?

      Of course. You are free to crawl off to some untravelled corner of the internet to die any day you choose.

      For Amazon or Netflix obviously they will easily acquire customers through other means. For smaller players 30% is nothing given the HUGE number of iOS users (hundreds of millions now) all with registered credit cards that can buy on a whim.

      30% seems excessive but Apple i

    • ...correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't this mean that I can make 30% more per sale if I develop for some platform other than Apple?

      No, you can make probably around 20% more per sale if you handle credit card processing yourself, and you are selling online - you'd pay 5-15% for credit card processing probably. If you're selling product in a brick and mortar store you can expect the store to take more than 30%.

      No idea why Apple think being user-hostile is a good idea - it's going to generate a lot of hostility towards them from their customers, and eventually they'll end up in Microsoft's situation, where everyone distrusts them no matt

  • by JimLynch (684194) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:45PM (#36878414) Homepage
    Here's my take on it. Apple's greed is amazing to behold. And you have to love the conflict of interest between being owning the platform and also competing with Amazon via iBooks. How is it one company gets to take 30% of the sales of their competitor? Apple, Greed and the Amazon Kindle App http://jimlynch.com/2011/07/25/apple-greed-and-the-amazon-kindle-app/ [jimlynch.com]
    • Here's my take on it. Apple's greed is amazing to behold.

      It's not clear that it's about greed. Far more likely is that it's about control, control over the experience of their users. Apple has a direct motive to fully support the Kindle app on iOS, because the users of their devices want it there. iBooks just exists for users who can't be bothered to dive into the Kindle ecosystem. But also, Apple has a direct motive to prevent sketchy financial transactions from originating from within iOS apps. A couple of errant games that redirect users to a Russian mafi

  • by Thinine (869482) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:47PM (#36878434)
    How does this give in to Apple's demands? By eliminating the in app subscription/purchase capability, they've actually denied Apple any income from their sales. Seems like they refused Apple's demands, not gave into them.
  • Apple is pushing people in so many directions that someday soon they will find out the answer to this question. Do the apps being on iPhone give Apple power or does Apple owning the iPhone give them power over the apps? In the early days of the iPhone it struggled as simply an iPod with a ton of bugs and lacking features other smartphones had. The creativity of app developers started to create value on the iPhone. Apple's walled garden, on the other hand, has provided app developers a safe place where they

  • I don't understand. Why is there no legal opposition to this sort of behavior? When Microsoft did this sort of thing with IE, they got slapped with some really major anti-monopolistic lawsuits.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 25, 2011 @09:37PM (#36878838)

    Before agency, Amazon raped publishers. Apple reversed the numbers when they announced iBooks. Seems everyone forgets this fact. If you are an independent author, you are very happy Apple changed the e-book world.

    • You didn't have to sell through Amazon. Even with Kindle, I can shop in any web ebook store that sells books in .mobi (and, indeed I do just that) - directly from the device.

  • by Dan667 (564390) on Monday July 25, 2011 @10:08PM (#36879112)
    wish I had bought an Android.
  • Amazon, google, et al should make apps for the jail-broken market -- they can keep the buttons.
  • Apple didn't bring a new subscriber to the app. The user was already a subscriber that just so happened to have owned an iPhone. They then went and searched out the app, again, because they were already interested, and downloaded it to the phone. The phone is/was a medium. That's like saying Intel/Geil/Seagate/ATI/Asus/Gigabyte all get a cut of my Amazon order because they "brought" me to Amazon today. This would only hold true MAYBE if the app was already on the phone when you bought it, so you tried
  • by ibsteve2u (1184603) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @02:19AM (#36880486)
    I'd hate for GM to not only tell me who was allowed to ride in my car but also that any burger joint I drove my GM product to had to give Apple a 30% cut of any orders I or my passengers made at their drive-in window.

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