Apple clips publishers' wings

Only one of us is allowed to fly

Apple is cracking down on applications that provide access to paid content, rejecting anything that looks as though its trying to bypass handing over 30 per cent to Cupertino.

Apple gets a 30 per cent cut of anything purchased on the iPhone, or iPad, but iOS applications such as Amazon's Kindle reader and some newspaper clients provide access to content that was paid for elsewhere: something that Apple is apparently no longer going to tolerate.

Sony is one of those affected, the New York Times reports, having had its Sony Reader software rejected by Apple on the basis that customers can buy a book on one device and view it on another. Apple has no argument with that concept, as long as both devices are running iOS and under the complete control of Messrs Jobs & Co, but if you buy a book on a desktop computer and then read it on your iPhone then Apple won't get its pound of flesh – and that's not acceptable.

The same thing applies to newspapers, and news apps are to receive similar treatment from Apple. Buy a subscription to the Dallas Morning News and you can get the same content using the iOS application, without Apple taking a cut, an arrangement with which it seems Cupertino is equally unhappy.

This is all, no doubt, entirely unrelated to Apple's deal with Murdoch to launch their own paper, The Daily. The Daily will be properly announced tomorrow, but already has a website, a Twitter account and an address at News Corp headquarters, but whether it will be paying 30 per cent of every subscription to the iTunes store may be something for the competition regulators to keep an eye on. ®

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