The iTunes store is the single most popular place to buy software from on the face of the earth. Even though Microsoft Windows probably runs on more devices and computers over-all than iOS, no single store serves up more software that Apple’s iTunes store. That’s why a recent report in the New York Times is so distressing.
Sony Doesn’t Get an iPhone/iPad App
Sony, which was one of the first companies to create an electronic reader (it came out even before the Kindle) was extremely late to the game in getting apps made available for iOS and Android. They finally decided to create new apps this past summer and they applied to have their new app approved b y Apple. It was rejected.
The reason, according to Sony, was that Apple wanted the app to work only with content purchased from within the iTunes store as opposed to content purchased from outside. This represented a fundamental change from Apple’s previous policy, as it had applied to place like Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo.
Apple later clarified their policy, saying that apps could still work with content purchased from elsewhere. However, the apps themselves would no longer be allowed to arrange for purchases from outside websites. Rather, they would have to make purchases within the app using the iTunes store.
How Will This Affect My Business and or Website?
If you simply run a blog or another kind of business which offers free content, there should be no real affect on your business at all. Your content should be able to go through an app and appear on people’s screens the same as it always has. Your SEO efforts shouldn’t be affected either by this development.
However, those who run websites which serve up content purchased from the web and who had created apps which opened a browser page in Safari to allow for purchases could potentially see their business fundamentally altered by this new development. (If you haven’t done so by the way, you are potentially missing out on a huge market.)
Apple says that now, you’ll have to give them a 30% cut and arrange for the purchases to happen from within the app, being billed by the iTunes store. It’s unclear however whether or not apps which had previously been made available will be grandfathered in or if they will have to be changed to adapt to these new rules.
Bottom line, this isn’t an SEO issue. However, since we work with businesses large and small to help them with their Internet marketing efforts, I felt that this was an important issue to explore. Basically, your business could potentially be altered by this effort if for example you sell stock tips through your website.
So far, Apple says that the rules will apply only to eBooks, however the potential is there for many, many websites to see their business models affected if they sell content of any kind through apps which access their websites.