The Sony Reader app has been rejected by the Apple App Store gatekeepers over in Cupertino, according to a report in the New York Times.
The reason - that Apple doesn't want developers putting forward apps whereby content can be sold without the transactions going through Apple (i.e. in-app purchases).
Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading division, said that Apple told Sony specifically that this was the reason that its Reader app had been rejected.
“It’s the opposite of what we wanted to bring to the market,” Haber said. “We always wanted to bring the content to as many devices as possible, not one device to one store.”
Apple rejecting the Sony Reader app would be newsworthy enough, but when you consider the ramifications this could have, if the report proves accurate, then the news is huge.
Amazon, for example, has the Kindle app - which is a free app that features paid for content (albeit from the web via a link in the app, and not the app itself) and comic giant Marvel also offers paid-for material within its app. And these are just two examples of many apps out there, that offer premium content.
“This sudden shift perhaps tells you something about Apple’s understanding of the value of its platform,” said James L. McQuivey, a consumer electronics analyst at Forrester Research. “Apple started making money with devices. Maybe the new thing that everyone recognises is the unit of economic value is the platform, not the device.”
It isn't clear yet if Apple is simply blocking apps going forward, or whether existing apps, like Amazon's Kindle app, may be affected.
However, the world's biggest tech company has detailed a new subscription platform for digital publications within its App Store, so it will be interesting to see what happens when that platform goes live.
We'll have to wait and see how this one develops.