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Apple tosses Sony iBooks rival from iTunes

E-book reader, buyer app rejected

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Sony's plans to release a virtual version of its e-book reader on the iPhone and iPad have been dashed by Apple.

Sony announced in November 2010 that it was readying a Reader app for iOS devices. Just recently, it finished the software and submitted it to Apple for inclusion in the iTunes App Store.

This week, the Japanese giant admitted that Apple had rejected the app.

Sony said it had tried to come up with a solution that Apple would be happy with, but to no avail.

Sony claimed that "Apple changed the way it enforces its rules and this will prevent the current version of the Reader for iPhone from being available in the app store".

That's a very curious statement. Changing the way you enforce rules doesn't mean that an app that doesn't break those regulations suddenly does.

You might think that that is Sony's attempt to spin the blame onto Apple, but we wonder if it's more subtle than that.

Apple bans third-party apps the duplicate functionality provided by iOS' built-in applications. Reader does essentially what Apple's own iBooks app does. Ergo, out it goes.

But iBooks is arguably not a built-in app. Yes, it's free, but you have to actively download it from the iTunes store. Unless Apple started bundling iBooks recently, it's not there when you get a new machine, or update to iOS 4.

Unlike Amazon's Kindle app, Reader incorporates access to Sony's online bookshop. Kindle, by contrast, redirects buyers to Amazon's website. That's inconvenient, but it may be the very reason why Apple allows Amazon's e-book reader app into iTunes and not Sony's Reader.

Meanwhile, Sony's app is available for the growing Android platform. ®

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