Only a few days after pressuring Sony's e-reader application to sell e-books through Apple's own purchasing system, Apple is now being accused of strong-arming publishers to sell through its iTunes Store or be barred from Apple's club.
Yudu, a British company that creates digital editions for periodicals, shared the recent letter it received from Apple which told publishers with an iOS app to sell copies or subscriptions through iTunes or be rejected starting March 31, the Wall Street Journal reported. Basically any app from a publisher that would allow a point-of-sale purchase -- book, magazine or newspaper -- has to use iTunes. Those companies, like the WSJ, that have an app that takes users to its corporate website to purchase subscriptions or copies would not be affected.
So far, News Corp.'s The Daily, which was unveiled yesterday, is the only publication using the iTunes system.
Apple's Eddy Cue, vice president of Internet services, thought companies would jump on the bandwagon."We think subscriptions are only going to help [publishers] get more customers," he said. Cue also said that Apple would allow sales on as third-party app outside of its iTunes store, but only if iTunes was an option.
A spokeswoman for Apple declined to comment on this issue to NBCBayArea.com.
Although Apple hasn't publicly released its share from the iTunes store sales, reports say it's 30 percent -- a tidy sum for just allowing someone to place an app on your product. Apple's App Store made $1.1 billion in 2010.
Apple's recent tightening control over its third-party apps shouldn't be surprising. If an app solely exists to sell a service or product, the marketplace will eventually ask for part of the profits. And if it happens to hurt its competition, such as e-readers and other online stores, even better.