Apple has told some App Store apps 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.
Apple rejected Sony's iPhone app, 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, hasn't needed to own a Kindle to read Kindle books bought from Amazon.
That may now change.
"It's the opposite of what we wanted to bring to the market," Mr. Haber said. "We always wanted to bring the content to as many devices as possible, not one device to one store."
The move is surprising, as Apple has indicated recently that it would be more collaborative, not less, with magazine publishers and other content producers that want more control over how to distribute content on the iPad.
Apple and Amazon declined to comment.
Update: Apple clarified:
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've not changed our developer terms or guidelines," company spokesperson Trudy Miller told me.
"We're 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."
[tags]kindle app,sony reader store,digital reading[/tags]