Apple needs to make friends right now, not enemies

By February 17, 2011 12 Comments

On Tuesday I wrote about how Android is continuing to gain momentum, but that it still lags Apple in terms of the health of its ecosystem.  Also on Tuesday Apple announced a tightening of the rules around purchases via the apps that run on their platform which are designed to increase Apple’s share of the pie.  In a nutshell any app or service that is available on an iPhone/iPad/iTouch needs to be available via Apple’s app store at the same price or less than it is available elsewhere, and of course Apple will take their 30% cut.

Newspaper publishers who sell subscriptions via their website and keep all the margin this will lop a significant chunk off the revenues they hope to get from selling content online, their great hope.

Amazon will have to put a link in their Kindle apps that launches Apple’s single click in app purchasing, on which Apple takes a 30% cut.  That will replace the link to Amazon’s website where they get to keep all the margin.  I don’t know if it will be profitable for Amazon to sell books if they have to hand over 30% of the purchase price to Apple.  If not they may have to pull their Kindle apps.

It will of course be easier and simpler for consumers to buy direct from their iPhones and iPads apps than launch a separate browser session, type in the link, etc. meaning that newspaper publishers, Amazon and Apple’s other partners will end up handing a significant portion of their sales to Apple.  Either that or move off the platform.

No wonder the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple’s latest move raises anti-trust issues.

Given the growth in the Android platform (and I was with a company yesterday that is launching a mobile app only on Android) I am surprised that Apple isn’t adopting the opposite strategy of working to be a better partner.  Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised though – looking back over recent history it is clear that Apple has long thought that their contribution is far more important than that of their partners and as a result have undervalued the ecosystem.

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