As part of the House Judiciary Committee for Apple’s antitrust probe, lawmakers have issued a number of internal e-mails from Apple. The collection of these emails offers new details about Apple’s long-running battle with Amazon to allow in-app purchases of eBooks in the Kindle app.
The Kindle app for iPhone and iPad currently does not allow users to purchase eBooks directly. Users can read e-books they have already purchased, but must purchase Safari to purchase new ones. This is a way for Amazon to prevent Apple from reducing e-book purchases by 30%, which would be required if Amazon sold e-books directly in the Kindle app itself.
It is important to remember that this arrangement has not always been the case. Until early 2011, you could buy Kindle eBooks directly in the Kindle app on iOS. He first revealed circuit, two sets of emails included in internal documents include interviews between Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller and other Apple executives regarding the situation.
In an email, Schiller explained that Apple initially made an exception for Amazon because “users would buy books on a Kindle device and later access them on an iPhone.” As Apple sold more iPhones, iPads, and iPods, the company touched on it. Schiller, it’s time to repeal this exception.
In fact, what actually led Schiller to re-investigate this situation, according to emails, is that Amazon has launched a series of ads on how you could still access your Kindle books if you switched from the iPhone to Android or vice versa. In one e-mail, Schiller wrote:
I was just watching a new ad for the Amazon Kindle app on TV. It starts with a woman who uses an iPhone and buys and reads books using the Kindle app. The woman then switches to her Android phone and can still read all her books. While the main message is that there are Kindle applications on many mobile devices, the secondary message that cannot be omitted is that it is easy to switch from iPhone to Android. It’s not fun to watch.
In a separate report, Schiller stated:
I think we should tell Amazon that from their own TV ads, it’s clear that using their app is now in violation of our terms and conditions, and that they must also use our app buying system to sell digital books. We should ask them to come back to us with a plan for receiving their application in accordance with the rules. Based on our previous discussions, I expect them to decide not to do so. Then we should probably decide whether to withdraw the Kindle app from the store or whether we continue to allow an exception to our Kindle Terms and Conditions and Instructions.
The talks took place because Apple also planned to announce new rules for subscribing to the App Store. In his response, Jobs said Apple could say that Amazon “must use our payment system for everything” and that the change was triggered by new rules for subscriptions to newspapers and magazines. “If they want to compare us to Android, we’ll force them to use our excellent payment system,” Jobs wrote.
“It’s time for them to take advantage of our payment mechanism or bow down,” Jobs said in a separate email. In response to an email from Cue Jobs, he stressed that iBooks will be the only bookstore on iOS devices:
I think it’s all quite simple – iBooks will be the only bookstore on iOS devices. We have to keep our heads high. It is possible to read books that you have bought elsewhere, simply do not buy / rent / subscribe to them from iOS without paying us, which we confirm is inaccessible for many things.
The next time you try and buy a book in the Kindle app on your iPhone or iPad, these emails and what caused the change may be reminded in the first place: a Kindle TV ad that Schiller didn’t like. Of course, it can also be argued that it was right for Apple to stop giving Amazon an exemption from in-app purchase requirements.
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