Apple’s Sony Reader Problem.

As you no doubt have heard already about the fact that Apple has rejected the Sony Reader app for iOS devices. This is apparently based on the fact that all purchases must go though the official apple sanctioned method of using in app purchases and not any third party method of doing things.

This no doubt is causing some executives at Amazon to consider the very real possibility that their highly acclaimed Kindle app for iOS might be pulled as well.

Now let’s stop the hysteria right the heck there. Apple is not stupid. Put your hand up who ought an iPad thinking “The Sony Reader app is going to be awesome on the iPad”?? Anyone, anyone?? Bueller, Bueller??

Now, who bought an iPad thinking “there is both iBooks and the Kindle app on the iPad- I’ll be able to get any book I want”??? I’m betting that a whole lot more people, including me, thought of that.

The fact of the matter is that Apple is not going to get a whole lot of grief from die hard Sony Reader fans for this. Just imagine the uproar if Amazon was forced to withdraw their kindle app for iPad. The horror. I can imagine seeing legions of angry people marching up Infinite Loop with fire torches and pitchforks.

In other words, the Kindle is actually a net benefit for the iOS platform. It actually helps Apple sell iPads and iPhones and iTouches. I doubt they’d be in a hurry to kill what is a net benefit for them.

So provided that Amazon and to a lesser extent, Barnes and Noble, play their cards right, I don’t see the problem.

The is of course the separate issue of Apple wanting all purchases to go through their inapplicable purchases mechanism. On the face of it, it’s possible to see this as simple profiteering. I doubt it’s quite that simple.

However, what apple needs to realise that, almost by accident, they’ve turned the app store into a vital piece of infrastructure, the Windows of the app store world. I’m not sure they’re quite prepared to undertake this role.

Google on the other hand set out to turn themselves into vital piece of the webs infrastructure. Whatever they may do wrong, they do have that goal very clear in mind. Apple not so much. They come across as being quite heavy handed when things like this happen. If anyone should understand the power of perception, it should be Steve Jobs and Apple.

So, ultimately the I believe that Apple will do the pragmatic thing and lay off the heavy handed moves in this space, but in the short term the perception of things may very well work against them.