Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kobo App Update

Jim Dovey:

The store was removed because Apple rejected any updates which included it, period. They also rejected any updates which stated that Apple required its removal, or indeed any mention of ‘compliance with App Store guidelines’. It was further rejected for the cardinal sin of allowing users to create a Kobo account within the app. Then it was rejected for providing a link to let users create an account outside the app. Then it was rejected for simply mentioning that it was possible to sign up, with no direction on where or how one could do that. Then it was rejected for making any mention of the Kobo website. Then for any mention of ‘our website’ at all, in any language. We additionally cannot make any assertions that Kobo provides content for sale, however obliquely.

Needless to say, it’s now raking in the 1-star reviews.

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My favorite part of Dovey's 'review':

I should note, however, that the Borders app for the US was subject to almost NONE of these restrictions. This is all the more amusing since the Borders US app is built from the exact same source code, with a different colour scheme and titles.

It's the beauty of keeping the real rules of the AppStoreMonster unwritten, no? The corporation can employ strategic discretion, and even strategic caprice.

So I'll take the chance of giving myself the benefit of the doubt and thinking that Gruber borrowed my "caprice" line from here, and I'll thus waste a few pixels to take issue with the post he wrote immediate before that one. He wrote:

I think it’s reasonable for Apple not to allow App Store apps to sell content on their own, within the apps themselves.

But why? Why is that reasonable?

As long 3rd party apps aren't using the AppleID system in-app, why is that reasonable? Why is it reasonable not to allow Amazon to sell books in-app to customers it already has an independent sales relationship with while sitting on top of Apple's platform?

It was always Steve-o's dream to build a factory that took in huge quantities of sand at one end, and shipped out huge quantities of cool shiny gadgets on the other end. And that dream has come true. A third of the globe's flash RAM capacity gets resold by the fruit company at tremendous markup, all with no end in sight. Isn't that enough?

Do they really need to deploy their hour of power to enforce 'beyond the box' as well? Is it really worth crucifying good and dominant technology on the cross of a 30% cut and dictatorial control?

We've seen this movie before. Microsoft once had a sweet thing going in selling a universal dial tone. And then they got greedy and decided they needed to monetize their customers' e-commerce and ensure lock-in through ad hoc means, all instead of faithfully serving their customers. It worked for a while, but it didn't end well. And even if the Feds aren't nemesis in Apple's case, their current path is a sure-fire way to ensure the birth of a different nemesis.

Being a global sand-to-gadget monopsony should fill the plate of any animal other than a hog. And, of course, as the stock market expression goes, bulls win, bears win, and a certain kind of animal gets slaughtered.

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