Dan Frommer on the Removal of the Kindle Store Link in the iOS Kindle App

Dan Frommer, arguing that Apple’s new “if it’s in the App Store, we get 30 percent of everything purchased through it” policy has forced Amazon and other e-book sellers to make their apps worse:

One argument I’ve heard is that Apple is, in theory, acting in the customer’s best long-term interest here: iTunes is an easier payment method than Amazon’s Kindle store, so Apple should try to pressure companies to use iTunes for everything over the long run. You know, starve the losers and feed the winners.

But that argument doesn’t hold up in reality. Amazon doesn’t set its prices for e-books — book publishers do. There’s no realistic room in its business to give Apple a 30% cut. Maybe 5%, but not 30%. Same goes for many other services. So using iTunes is a non-starter.

Pretty much spot-on. That the e-book market is set up in a way that doesn’t allow for Apple’s 70/30 split is not Apple’s problem, however.

I think it’s reasonable for Apple not to allow App Store apps to sell content on their own, within the apps themselves. But I think a better compromise would be to allow linking to a store, so long as the links open in Safari rather than within the app itself. In the app: you play by Apple’s rules. On the web: anything goes.

(Worth noting: Frommer left Silicon Alley Insider a few weeks ago to strike out on his own with SplatF. I’m really enjoying it.)

Tuesday, 26 July 2011