Angry Apple makes hollow threat to bar Kindle, other e-book apps
'Apple is under no duty to allow other retailers to offer apps on the iPad,' company says in reply to DOJ's e-book price-fixing remedies
Computerworld - Apple on Friday responded to e-book price-fixing remedies proposed by the U.S. Department of Justice and 33 state attorneys general with, among other things, an implied threat that it could yank Amazon's Kindle app from its iPad and iPhone App Store.
"Apple is under no duty to allow other retailers to offer apps on the iPad," Apple said in its filing with a federal court.
The threat, however, was largely symbolic: If the court approves the government's proposal, Apple would not be allowed to drop any apps from its store.
The Cupertino, Calif. company's threat was part of its reply to the DOJ's proposal earlier on Friday. The remedies would force Apple to cancel existing e-book agreements with publishers, bar it from retaliating against publishers, and require that Apple let Amazon, Barnes & Noble and others include links to their e-book stores in their iOS apps.
The e-book retailers would be allowed to include links in their apps for two years, the DOJ said in its filing with the court. In a separate statement, the DOJ argued that the links would "reset competition to the conditions that existed before the conspiracy" and "let consumers ...easily compare Apple's prices with those of its competitors."
Such in-app links have been banned by Apple since 2011, when the company unveiled new App Store policies related to subscriptions and other digital content, saying that it deserved a 30% cut of all such revenue.
At the time, then-CEO Steve Jobs put it plainly: "Our philosophy is simple -- when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30% share," he said in a February 2011 statement. "When the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100% and Apple earns nothing."
Apple also said the new rules, which covered e-book publishers as well as newspaper and magazine publishers, required that content sellers remove links in their apps to external websites where customers could buy books or subscriptions.
Several months later, Amazon caved to Apple and removed links in its iOS apps that took customers directly to its Web-based store. Since then, Amazon's customers have had to exit the Kindle app, call up a browser and manually steer to the company's website to purchase a book. Other e-book retailers were forced to do the same to retain their apps in Apple's market.
Apple's own iBooks has been the exception; a button there lets customers buy books without exiting the app or opening a browser.
On Friday, Apple blasted the DOJ's suggestion that Apple exempt e-book retailers from long-standing App Store rules.
- Apple has bigger plans than just song ID with Shazam deal
- Mac Pro shortage sets record as worst Mac production debacle
- Apple slates WWDC for June 2-6, sets up ticket lottery
- Apple patches Safari's Pwn2Own vulnerability, two-dozen other critical bugs
- Microsoft's free OneNote vaults to top of Mac App Store chart
- Apple discounts iPhone 5C 8%-9% in five markets via storage cuts
- Apple hands stock worth $12.1M to top execs in retention deal
- Hands on: Apple's Mac Pro is the fastest Mac ever
- Apple CFO to retire in September after he cashes in $53M stock award
- Apple's CarPlay to spark mobile apps war in your car
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- How WAN Optimization Helps Enterprises Reduce Costs If you wanted to break down innovation into a tidy equation, it might go something like this: Technology + Connectivity = Productivity. Productivity...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users? All Legal White Papers | Webcasts