According to the New York Times, Apple has rejected Sony's Reader app from the App Store, and the Times speculates Amazon's popular Kindle app may also get the axe in the near future. The supposed reasoning behind this move is that Apple has decided apps can no longer sell content or allow access to content sold outside the App Store or via Apple's in-app purchasing mechanism.
If true, this is a highly questionable move on Apple's part, and one that seems pretty difficult to justify. Apple could potentially paint this as protecting consumers from malicious content (i.e., viruses) or unscrupulous app developers looking to bilk users out of money, then say that it's just applying the same rules to everyone by disallowing "outside content" apps like Sony Reader. But that's not the explanation the Times goes for, and it's not one I would swallow, either. Instead, if Apple really is seeking to exert this level of control over App Store content, it seems geared more toward protecting Apple's bottom line (30 percent of in-app purchase prices), and in a manner that frankly seems very shady.
Alternatively, Sony's Reader app may have been rejected because Apple is reportedly close to unveiling its own subscription-based content service. We'll be monitoring the situation very closely over the coming weeks; if Amazon's Kindle app or Barnes & Noble's NOOK app disappear from the App Store, it may be indicative of a very unpleasant sea change in Apple's policies that will (perhaps deservedly) give Apple a very black eye in the eyes of both users and content providers.
There's another possibility: the whole scenario could be a misinterpretation on Sony's part. From the sounds of things, Sony's app supported content purchasing from right within Reader, which everyone (Amazon included) knows is an App Store No-No. If rejected on that basis, Sony may have interpreted Apple's rejection to mean "Apple doesn't want our content on its devices." That interpretation then has everyone (including us) asking what this means for other content providers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, simultaneously poo-pooing Apple's ham-fisted policies and sympathizing with Sony. However, until Apple chooses to comment on the matter we won't really know for sure what's behind the rejection of Reader, or the implication for other e-book readers on the App Store.
[via Mac Rumors]