The Apple 30% Vig Loophole Lives — Again!

Ebook apps not leaving iTunes after all

This is newsworthy because Apple created this loophole only in the last couple months. It marks Apple’s third shift in policy since this started 6 months ago, and this is the rule that will let the ebook apps stay in iTunes.

But don’t take my word for it; go download the bol.com reading app. It was approved on 15 March and it’s missing the link to the Bol.com ebookstore. I’m told they had to remove it in order to get Apple’s approval.

Well, duh! That’s exactly what I said here:

The apps for Kindle, Kobo, Borders, and Nook — to name just those majors — will be turned into read-only apps.

To buy eBooks, you go to mobile Safari browser and use the website of each one to order (better make each a bookmark!).

And if that’s true, that’s the loophole that will let me buy an iPad.

The eBooks can still be on the iPad; Amazon, Kobo, Sony, Borders, B&N, et al, can go complain to the FTC to overturn the Restraint of Trade, but meanwhile readers will still have access to their books and can still buy them — although by manually going to Mobile Safari and manually entering a web address for each (which I why I said to make each a Bookmark!).

But I still don’t trust Apple, so no iPad until that deadline has passed.

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6 Comments

Filed under Apple: The Company, Friction

6 responses to “The Apple 30% Vig Loophole Lives — Again!

  1. Stephen Keese

    Please, don’t buy an iPad. Several competing devices let you do just what you want. Life is too short to spend it complaining. Go on and get an Android device, enjoy it now, and don’t look back.

    • mikecane

      I have lusted for an iPad from the start but haven’t thought about one for quite some time. We’ll see what happens with Apple and eBooks.

  2. Brett

    You and your Vigxation. Should every company that sells a device that hosts its own eBook reader and store be compelled by the FTC to give free access to competing eBook stores? Or just Apple?

    Apple created the iOS platform. And they did it the hard way, by shear excellence, despite the ignorant blathering of pundits and naysayers.

    Apple’s business model is to leverage control over, and extract profit from, content purchased and consumed on the device. They earned their mobile device market share (not a monopoly, by the way) by legitimate means, and should not be obligated to help competitors. If you don’t like it, tough.

    Personally, I hope you don’t buy an iPad, because I just know you’ll just keep harping about it.

  3. Shock Me

    While I understand your concern, the choice to purchase an iPad (or other tablet) should be based on how well it does the tasks you need it for. If the primary use is an e-book reader there are many more options both more and less expensive than the iPad that will serve and many of those are even as responsive to touch as the iPad.

    The iPad provides a wonderful experience in many situations especially with respect to news, magazines, video, music, and e-books (both reading and purchasing via iBooks).

    However, if ALL you need is e-books downloaded direct from Amazon OR B&N the Kindle and Nook will eventually address this need with an added dash of web browser and movie viewer.

    If you don’t trust a vendor, then don’t buy from them. I trust Apple to make the process convenient and frictionless with in app purchases.

    Although I think all the bookstores should be on a level playing field for IAP, I understand Apple is under no obligation to subsidize their competition with either bandwidth or free transaction processing as they have provided for a large number of free apps carried in their app store.

    The best solution for all concerned is the improvement of WebKit to enhance web apps and give them somewhat of a parity with native apps. That should address concerns about Apple’s store restrictions by allowing customers to make transactions with vendors they trust without Apple paying the freight or being liable for any trouble.

    • mikecane

      I want an iPad and I want Apple to stop thinking a device they’re selling is a fucking colony they’re establishing and not a product.

      • Shock Me

        I don’t believe they think of the iPad as a colony. They most likely think of it as a way to make buying and consuming content easy and they suspect that doing it themselves is the way to provide the best experience.

        If the past is any measure, any services that add value and contribute to additional or recurring hardware purchases most likely will have to, at some level, be self-financing.

        If that service is a web service, Apple obtains the benefits with little cost for infrastructure or development. It also runs the risk of providing a sub-standard lowest common denominator experience that can be replicated by other hardware vendors.

        It’s a tough balancing act. Personally. I think limiting transactions made with the Apple ID is a strategic error. I think a minimal fee for materials not being hosted on Apple’s servers is more appropriate. There ought to be some compensation for Apple’s development of that consumer.

        I suspect that third-party content aggregaters will fall by the wayside and that deals will be made directly with content owners for most content. Unless the third-party company’s customer base is substantially large, I doubt Apple would be willing to make the compromises necessary to have that company do what Apple could just as well profit from doing themselves.

        Other content re-sellers such as NetFlix, Hulu +, and Pandora will likely also be limited to their existing web-based transaction systems. As much as I might think it is redundant and wasteful it is really their only way to maintain complete control of their customer relationships and bank 100% of the revenue and profits.

        Apple has never wanted to be commoditized and consequently your iPad lust may forever go unsated.

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