Emails Reveal Why Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller Blocked In-App Purchase of Kindle Books

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Internal Apple emails, made public by the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust inquiry, have revealed information about why Apple blocked in-app purchases of Kindle books on iOS devices, reports The Verge.



Two sets of emails between Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller, Eddy Cue, and various other senior Apple executives, disclose the exact thinking behind how Apple approached Kindle on iOS. The current precedent was outlined by Steve Jobs, who stated that "I think this is all pretty simple — iBooks is going to be the only bookstore on iOS devices. We need to hold our heads high. One can read books bought elsewhere, just not buy/rent/subscribe from iOS without paying us, which we acknowledge is prohibitive for many things."

Originally, Kindle books were available for purchase via the iOS app. Since 2011, the Kindle iOS app has only allowed users to read books in the app. Purchase of new titles can only be made in Safari, not in the app itself. This allows Amazon to avoid a 30% Apple surcharge on in-app purchases.

Phil Schiller expressed concern in one of the emails that Amazon was advertising the fact that users could still access Kindle books purchased on iOS on Android devices, suggesting it was convenient to switch from iOS to Android.



Schiller explained that Apple initially made an exception for Amazon, because "users would be buying books on a Kindle device and later accessing them on iPhone." Over time, as sales of iOS devices rose dramatically, Schiller believed that it was time to reconsider the exception. Amazon's TV advertising was a clear point of contention for Apple and prompted the change of attitude.



These discussions took place as Apple was planning to announce revised App Store policies for subscriptions. Jobs suggested in his response that Amazon "must use our payment system for everything," and justify this with the new subscription policies. "If they want to compare us to Android, let's force them to use our far superior payment system," Jobs wrote.



Amazon later removed a link to the Kindle Store in the iOS app to comply with the new App Store subscription rules. From then onwards, the Kindle app's storefront feature was removed entirely, with no overt direction as to where to buy books.



Yesterday, further emails published by the U.S. antitrust subcommittee revealed that Apple offered Amazon lower App Store fees to convince it to launch its Prime Video app on the ‌App Store‌ and Apple TV.

The news that Apple made exceptions for Amazon for Kindle prior to 2011 and for Prime Video has caused confusion among some observers, as Apple has consistently claimed it treats every developer the same. Phil Schiller stated ahead of the antitrust inquiry this week that all apps in the App Store have been treated "the same - one set of rules for everybody, no special deals, no special terms, no special code, everything applies to all developers the same."

Article Link: Emails Reveal Why Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller Blocked In-App Purchase of Kindle Books
 
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Blackstick

macrumors 6502a
Aug 11, 2014
683
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Sunny South Florida
Interesting to see the raw executive minds at work. Nothing like the polished, smoothed product we see on the stage. No surprise there.

According to the iPhone 4 photos I took in my library, I was actually working the Genius Bar on November 23, 2010 while Steve and Phil were planning to box in Amazon... we were getting ready for Black Friday madness, the first one with iPads.
 

topgunn

macrumors 65816
Nov 5, 2004
1,477
1,477
Houston
Two companies each trying to spend less money while making more money and they both want your money.

These emails don't appear damning at all. It looks like Apple wanting to enforce existing policy evenly which also happens to make them more money. Amazon benefited from the huge increase in the number of iOS devices and were getting a free ride.
 

swingerofbirch

macrumors 68040
Nothing really stood out except for SJ with a straight face (I assume since this was internal) saying the Kindle app should have to use their far superior payment system. Superior to Android? Or the Kindle Store? Apple actually licensed Amazon's payment system (1 click) at one point. What was wrong with Android or Kindle's payment systems? I didn't use Android at the time, but as of now Android and iOS seem virtually identical and Amazon has the easiest shopping experience of anyone.
 

FSMBP

macrumors 68030
Jan 22, 2009
2,521
1,501
My favorite is Phil's "Not fun to watch" in regards to switching devices. It's like if you're making a superior device (which I believe they do), why would this bruise your ego?

It's like they are focused on making it hard for people to leave the ecosystem on purpose.

Just make awesome products, and people will flock to your product.
 

aaadktda

macrumors member
Sep 14, 2019
33
96
Is anyone going to be surprised about this, Apple are a business and so they will do what’s best for their business. Simple really.
No surprised but slightly irritated (for lack of a better word). If Apple would advertise their brand or products as a way to get the money and make shareholders happy it would be OK. You get this reaction from people because Apple says it does everything for the customer and to make the customers lives easy and bla, bla, bla. People are not reacting to the way they do business but to their hypocrisy and lies.
 

topgunn

macrumors 65816
Nov 5, 2004
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Houston
To the poster @tkukoc who disagreed with me. Please tell us how Phil has not been caught in a bold faced lie?
You said someone lied and didn't even attempt to say what that lie was or give any supporting evidence other than a blanket statement. Then, someone dislikes your comment and you want them to tell you how you were wrong? Seems par for the course, I suppose.
 

Northern Man

macrumors 68000
Aug 25, 2013
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You said someone lied and didn't even attempt to say what that lie was or give any supporting evidence other than a blanket statement. Then, someone dislikes your comment and you want them to tell you how you were wrong? Seems par for the course, I suppose.
Are you not following the story and Phil's comments prior to his boss testifying? Obviously not so catch up please before posting again.
 

Dave245

macrumors 604
Sep 15, 2013
7,897
5,668
No surprised but slightly irritated (for lack of a better word). If Apple would advertise their brand or products as a way to get the money and make shareholders happy it would be OK. You get this reaction from people because Apple says it does everything for the customer and to make the customers lives easy and bla, bla, bla. People are not reacting to the way they do business but to their hypocrisy and lies.
I don’t see how they have lied tho? it’s an internal email and not one for consumers. It doesn’t surprise me since Apple want everyone in their ecosystem, it’s much easier to keep us in than it is to get us in at times.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
21,465
26,675
Nothing really stood out except for SJ with a straight face (I assume since this was internal) saying the Kindle app should have to use their far superior payment system. Superior to Android? Or the Kindle Store? Apple actually licensed Amazon's payment system (1 click) at one point. What was wrong with Android or Kindle's payment systems? I didn't use Android at the time, but as of now Android and iOS seem virtually identical and Amazon has the easiest shopping experience of anyone.
It seems the answer is always security. Though it’s hard to argue Apple is the only large company that can securely process CC transactions.
 
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